Insects and other foods the trout
should be eating:
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 - Stages of life of the Midge
Midge larvae look similar to worm-like grubs. They are shaped long and skinny and
have segmented bodies. There are normally eight to ten segments. They tend to be
cream colored or light green although there are exceptions to this.
The larva stage of life of the midge is eaten by trout to a huge extent in many cases.
In others, it is rarely eaten. It depends of the species of midge and type of water.
We have found these three colors; cream, light green and red, imitate most all of
the species of midges that are available for trout to eat. This fly has a lot of detail to
it. It uses a flashabou type ribbing to imitate the segmentation and either marabou
or ice dubbing for the thorax. For example, the free-swimming bloodworm stores
oxygen in its blood and has a bright red color. The larvae of the free-swimming,
glassworm is almost clear or transparent.
The majority of midge larvae built mud tubes and stay put in them on the bottom.
They do not leave these mud tubes until they develop into pupae and assent to the
surface to hatch into an adult. The free-swimming species are the ones in the larvae
stages that are important to fly fishers. The species that build mud tubes are not.
Some species construct small cases or tubes in which they live. These larval cases
stand upright on the bottom. The free-swimming larvae tend to hide and stay put
under rocks, logs and other similar type cover. The can swim by wiggling, which
helps propel them and by just floating along. They can also crawl. the free-
swimming bloodworm stores oxygen in its blood and has a bright red color. The
larvae of the free-swimming, glassworm is almost clear or transparent.
Fishing Larva Imitations:
One thing you may want to try when fishing the midge larva is to fish is to fish it in
conjunction with a mayfly nymph or caddis larva. Often the fish, sometimes big, will
ignore the nymph or caddis larva and take the midge larva. You can rig the midge
larva a few inches below the mayfly nymph or caddis larva. This is also a good way
to get the midge larva down near or on the bottom. The added weight of the nymph
or caddis larva will help. You can also, and probably will need to depending on the
water, add weight above the top fly using lead or other non-toxic weights.
The pupa stage of life is the most important stage for anglers. It's during the time
the pupae accent to the surface that they are most susceptible to feeding trout. Air
sacks within their wings provide the buoyancy necessary for them assent. The air
provides a mirror like, silvery flash that trout sometimes key on. This accent may
take some time and the larvae may even become stationary at times.
As with the larva stage of life of the midge, we have found that three colors closely
imitate a great majority of all species of midges that trout feed on. Cream, light
green and red will cover you in all but some rare, isolated situations. Like the adult
and larva flies, detail in the pupae imitations is still very important even though the
flies are very small. Trout have plenty of time to examine the emerging pupae while
they pick them off with ease. The peacock herl thorax serves several purposes. It
provides a glitter effect that looks very similar to the air bubbles that accent the
pupae to the surface to hatch. It also imitates the thorax about to split open with
wings very well. Segmentation of the abdomen part of the fly is provided by the
two different thread weights and types. The trailing shuck completes the imitation.
The papa looks almost like the larva with a thick thorax that contains the wings of
the developing midge. The hardened case, or puparium which is a capsule-like
case, contains the wings and legs. When they begin to emerge, the wings become
much more prominent.Some species that dwell in streams crawl out of their pupa
cases while they are still on the bottom and swim to the surface as adults. Trout can
easily feed on them at this time. This is much less common than surface emergence.
Especially in water that is calm where there is a heavy surface film, midges can have
a very difficult time penetrating the surface film and consequently, there may be a
large number of midges that die trying. Often the feeding trout don’t give them time
to get through it. These pupae are easy takings for the trout, and along with the
cripples that just didn’t emerge right for one reason or other, can cause them to
concentrate only on this phase of the hatch.
Fishing Pupa Imitations:
You should pay attention to details when you are fishing a midge hatch. Often, there
is more than one species of midges, sometimes several. You must be able to key in
on the size, color and stage of a hatch to be most successful. Midge larva patterns
are generally effective early in the mornings and between hatches. They should be
worked on or near the bottom.
The pupae are quite different in color from the larvae and the adults quite different
in color from the pupae and larvae. The pupa usually brings the most activity. Trout
really focus on the pupae suspended in the surface film trying to hatch.
Use a nine-foot 5X tippet and add about twelve to fourteen inches of 5X tippet using
a surgeons knot. Tie on an attractor type midge pattern to the end of the added
tippet. Using an improved clinch knot, tie on an additional 18 inches of 5 X or 6X
tippet to the bend of the hook in the attractor fly. Add the midge larva imitation to
the extended tippet. If added weight is needed, place it on the leader just above the
first knot you tied to add the extra tippet to keep in from sliding down the leader. If
you are using a strike indicator, attach it approximately one and one-half times the
depth of the water from the bottom fly.
In especially clear water, you may want to use a 6X for the upper tippet and 7X for
the extended portion. This rig can also be cast without weight for trout feeding on
emergers. Change the larva imitation to a pupa imitation. Remember, when trout
begin to feed on the emerging midge pupae, you will usually just see the fins of the
fish break the water.Often it works well to fish the midge pupa in conjunction with a
mayfly emerger or caddis pupa. It is common for the trout to take the midge emerger
and ignore the mayfly or caddis. This sometimes works when you see fish rising but
do not see any flies in the air
When the pupae hatch into the two winged adults, there is little time for the trout to
catch them although they certainly can. Most of the midges, as we just said, are
eaten by the trout in their pupa stage of life and therefore, you are better off fishing
pupae imitations that adult imitations during this part of a midge hatch. When the
midges hatch from the pupae, they buzz about in erratic motions, darting about in
an unpredictable pattern.
Perfect Fly Adult Midge imitations use CDC and hackle to imitate the wings and legs
of the insect. Just because they are small doesn't mean they do not need to be
imitative of the real thing. Trout have every opportunity to get a close look at them.
These were designed to imitate those very picky trout that feed on flat, smooth
water. It should float low in the surface skim, not high as possible on the surface.
This better imitates those newly hatched adults that emerge in slick water.
Remember, you don't usually have fast moving water to rely on to help disguise
your fly. They usually hatch in very slow moving water.
The adults become important to anglers when they are mating and depositing their
eggs. They mate in swarming masses. It is common to see fish rising and midges
skittering along the surface of the water at the same time in just about any water
that holds trout. Most adult species skim the surface of the water when they deposit
It is not uncommon on some waters to see large clusters of midges along the
shoreline and trout rising to them. This occurs during the time the midges are
mating. At times the current and wind can collect them along the banks and in
current seems in large clusters. This will usually concentrate the trout and cause a
Copyright 2013 James Marsh
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