11/09/13

Insects and other foods the trout
should be eating:
Hatching:
1.     Slate Drakes
2.     Little Yellow Stoneflies
3.     Needle Stoneflies
4.     Mahogany Duns
5.     Little Yellow Quills
6.     Great Autumn Brown Sedges
7.     Blue-winged Olives

Most available - Other types of food:
8.     Sculpin, Minnows (Streamers)




Fly Fishing School - Midges
I know, today is scheduled above to be a "Getting Started" article. I'm switching it to
a "Fly Fishing School" article because it may well be a little too much for those
getting started. I'll just call it an advanced fly fishing school article. This is an article I
wrote a few years ago for our Perfect Fly website.

Midges are little flies that belong to the Chironomidae family of insects. You will find
that most anglers carry very few, usually just one or two, midge patterns in their fly
boxes, yet midges are available and eaten by trout throughout the year in all the
trout streams and lakes in the United States. The main reason for this lack of
attention for the midge is simply that many anglers just do not believe in the fly’s
effectiveness. After all, why would a large trout want to eat such a tiny morsel of
food? Why would any angler want to fish with such a small fly when a larger one is
easier to see, and would seem to be much more attractive to fish, especially the
larger ones.

Midges are small, usually very small, so small that most of us have a very difficult
time tying them on our tippet. It's such a problem that it led to the development of a
“midge threader”, a very handy device we might add. But make no mistake about it,
the little midges are very effective on all trout streams and lakes and yes, they in
fact, will catch large trout.

It is thought that midges represent about one-half of the insects in streams and
lakes. Although streams and lakes with soft bottoms and weed beds usually have
more than other types of water, if the water supports trout it has midges. This
includes fast flowing freestone mountain streams. It doesn’t matter whether the
bottom is muddy, rocky, or sandy. Midge species of one type or another can survive
as long as algae exist for them to feed on.  Lakes, pond and sloughs are usually
loaded with midge activity.   

Another important consideration is that midges normally hatch periodically just
about year round and are available as food for trout in the larvae, pupae or adult
stages throughout the year. Midges are small two winged flies that resemble
mosquitoes. They begin life from an egg deposited by swarming adults as they mate
and skim over the surface of the water. Some species deposit their eggs underwater
on structure and plants. Some of the species are free-swimming larvae and others
form tubes from the bottom materials that they live in.

The bloodworm and glassworm species are free- swimming larvae. These larvae
develop into the pupae stage of life and emerge by assenting to the surface of the
water where they hatch into the full, grown adults. This emerging process usually
takes anywhere from several seconds to a minute or two. Depending upon the
species, the adults live for an hour or two, up to a couple of months.

One commonly known fact about the midge is that it provides fishing action during
the cold, winter months when nothing else may be hatching. From late fall until early
spring, in many locations they are the only thing hatching. This is certainly one
great reason to fish midge patterns but it may also tend to cause some anglers to
think that the only time midges are effective for trout is during the cold months of the
year when nothing else works well. This is a very false belief. Midges may be the
best approach to use on any given day during the year, even days when major
mayfly or caddisfly hatches are occurring. In many streams and lakes where midges
are a major part of the trout’s diet, fish may take midges selectively over other much
larger flies. Don’t make the mistake of assuming that if the weather is nice and
warm, you don’t need your midge box. That may be a big mistake.  

It is not easy to detect that trout are feeding on midges even when they are doing it
selectively at the exclusion of everything else. Angler may spot midges on the water
and simply not be able to see trout taking them. It is even more difficult to spot trout
taking the emerging midges and almost impossible to see them taking the larvae.    
Trout feeding on adult midges tend to hold just beneath the surface where they can
easily sip the midges. They make very subtle rise forms and are usually fairly easily
spooked since they are holding so shallow. Bad presentations can easily spook
them and well as your presence and motions made casting. Wakes made from
wading will spook trout holding very shallow also.

Hatch Times:
Midges seem to never hatch when you expect them. They can hatch anytime of the
day from early in the morning to late in the evening. Snow, wind and rain seem to
have little effect on the hatch times. They can hatch on the hottest day in July or
coldest day of January. There are some clues that may, keep in mind we are saying
may, help you select the best fishing times however.

Like many other aquatic insects, midge emergence is greatest during periods of low
atmospheric pressure, or cloudy, overcast day. This is when the hatches seem to
be the most concentrated and the heaviest; however, you may find midges hatching
on the brightest days of the year. It also seems that the calmer the water, the
heavier the hatch, but this may just be a factor in how well you can see them. Dark,
overcast, days, also aid you in getting closer to the fish feeding on midges and
makes it easier for you to fool them with an imitation.

It takes a lot of midges to supply the necessary energy trout expend even in cold
water during the winter season when their metabolism is the lowest. That means
trout usually feed on midges for a long period of time, even hours, in order to get
enough of them.Bad weather conditions, especially cold air temperatures, can slow
down the emerging process considerably. The freshly hatched midges will remain
on the surface much longer drying and exercising their wings.

Fishing Dry Flies:
In slow moving water, such as you may find in pools, midges will often be drifting in
the surface film in scum lines or current seams with bubbles present. The emerging
midge pupae are not visible and your only clues are the slight bulges made by a
sipping trout. A good dead drift is always required to keep from spooking the fish
under these conditions. You should get as close to a rising fish, or the spot you
expect trout to be sipping midge pupae, as possible. It is necessary that your fly be
presented right in front of a trout’s mouth because they are simply not going to
expend much energy moving about chasing down a single minute size midge
pupa.

Another reason your presentation must be in the immediate area of feeding is that
the trout are usually holding just under the surface and the area they can spot
drifting midges is very small. When trout are holding close to the surface of the
water, they will not see your fly drifting several feet away.

A long leader is usually required, Start with at least a ten feet long leader and
preferable twelve.  Six or seven X tippets are usually required. Slow action rods are
generally preferred over fast action because they allow the flex to protect the light
tippets needed when you set the hook and fight the fish.

It is of course, very difficult to see the adult midges on the water, real or fake. One
way to help determine exactly where your fly is, is to cast far above where you
suspect the trout are and when you think your fly is approaching the area, pull the
fly to create a slight v wake. This will let you know where the fly is. Align it above the
fish as best you can before it gets close enough for the trout to notice what
is going on. This way your fly will be in line to drift over the fish and you can just
about time when it will be there. You may have to make several cast to determine
exactly what effect the current is having on the fly and to get the cast and
subsequent v drag in line to drift the fly right over the fish
Copyright 2013 James Marsh
New Schedule of Daily
Articles
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Conditions Forecast - Coming Week
Tuesdays: Fly Fishing Strategies -
Which Flies To Use - Coming Week
Wednesday: Fishing Tales
Thursday: Fly Fishing Strategies and
Weather/Stream Conditions Update
Friday: Whatever Hits Me
Saturday: Getting Started
Sunday: Fly Fishing School
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Perfect Fly Cream Midge Larva
Perfect Fly Green Midge Larva
Perfect Fly Cream Adult Midge
Perfect Fly Cream Midge Pupa
Perfect Fly Green Adult Midge
Perfect Fly Green Midge Pupa
Perfect Fly Red (Blood) Midge Larva
Perfect Fly Red (Blood) Adult Midge, yes they
are black adults
Perfect Fly Red (Blood) Midge Pupa