12/11/10
Insects and other foods the trout may be eating:
1.    Blue-winged Olives
2  .  Sculpin, baitfish and small crayfish (Imitate with streamers)
3.    Midges

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Part Ten - Midge Pupae
New Great Smoky Mountains National Park Trout Food Series

Remember, midge larvae change into pupae prior to hatching. In the pupal stage
they develop wing and legs. These pupal cases are attached to something near the
bottom. I say something, because looking at highly magnified images of midges
underwater, it appears it doesn't make any difference what they attach themselves
to. After a certain period of time of being in their pupae cases, usually about two
weeks, they emerge into adults. The midge pupae accent to the surface and usually
hang in a vertical position in the skim. When they manage to get through the skim,
they stay on the surface until their wings are dry enough for them to fly off. This all
depends on the water and air temperature. Midges rest on the surface immediately
after emergence to dry their wings before flying away.

Bad weather conditions can cause problems and often there are a lot of midges that
never make it to the air. Those that hatch during the Winter in cold water require a
lot more time to escape the water. It's during this time that the trout take their time
and just cruise around picking them off while they are hanging in the skim or drying
their wings on the surface. After they hatch, they will begin to swarm and mate. Like
mayflies, they die soon after they mate. The males fall to the water or banks and the
females soon begin to deposit their eggs. As soon as they do, they also die, usually
while still on the water.

This doesn't occur in the fast water riffles and runs of the streams in the Smokies. It
occurs in the smooth surface, calm water areas of pockets and pools. The trout that
feed on the midge pupae and adults are not easy to approach without spooking
them. It takes longer cast, lighter tippets and good presentations to fool the trout.
Another problem is that you cannot see the real midges on the surface of the water
and unless you have some type of indicator, you cannot usually determine where
your fly is in the stream. You can see midges in the air, swarming and mating, but
seeing them on the water is almost impossible.

When I said "some type of indicator", I was referring to tandem fly rigs commonly
used when fishing midge pupae imitations. You can either use a tiny strike indicator,
such as a small strand of fiber that you have dressed with floatant and placed a few
inches above the fly, or a dry fly placed a few inches above the fly. I like to use a
hook size 18 BWO dry fly, or Parachute Adams with a white post placed about 12 to
18 inches above the midge pupa fly. When a trout sips the trailing midge pupa fly,
the small dry fly will move oddly, or stop when it normally wouldn't. Sometimes it's
possible to actually see the trout take the fly, but it greatly depends on the direction
of the available light.

Another method is to make the cast slightly above where you suspect a trout might
take the fly and pull the tip of the rod back just slightly, causing it to drag the fly
across the surface of the water. Do this until you get the tiny wake made by the fly
directly upstream of the area you want it to drift through. Of course, you want to
move the fly far enough upstream of the area you want it to drift through that you
won't spook the trout. Just watch for a rise in the area you think your fly should be
drifting and set the hook with a slow sweep of the rod tip. It may be the trout ate a
real midge near your fly. You just have to be patient and keep working the area
without spooking the trout.

Copyright 2010 James Marsh
Cutthroat trout are native to the Western
United States. Because they have lived and
survived in isolated areas in most parts of
the West, they have developed into several
distinct sub-species and strains. They are
usually a brownish gold color and have
relatively large spots. The name “cutthroat”
came from the obvious red mark at the lower
part of their gills.
Fly Fishing for cutthroat trout is a lot of fun
because of the slow, deliberate way they
take a dry fly. If you are not careful, you will
take the fly away from the fish.