Insects and other foods the trout may be eating:
1.    Blue-winged Olives
2.    Little Yellow Quills (
Heptagenia Group)
3.    Needle Stoneflies
4     Slate Drakes
5     Great Brown Autumn Sedge
6.    Midges
7.    Sculpin, Minnows (Streamers)

Fly Fishing Strategies Article:
I'm delaying this weeks article on strategies so I can check some things out on the
streams and also, because we are going through another change in the weather
between now and this coming weekend.
Look for it tomorrow.

Midge Fishing Summary - Part One
Since I have jumped around and written about midges and fishing imitations of midges
for the last three days, I guess you could call this a Midge Fishing Summary.  After all,
I don't write these articles well in advance and send them to an editor to correct my
errors and make sure I didn't leave anything out. If you've read much of anything I've
written, you should have been able to figure that out.  

The first time I asked a fly fisher what a midge was, I was told it was any small fly. He
referred to both the flies that imitate midges and the small insects that are midges. I
was also told the same thing by a guy working in a fly shop. Somewhere along the
way, I found out a midge was a word that should be used for one of several families of
insects in the order Dipthera. For those who snoozed in biology class, Dipthera is just
a large group of families of insects that have two wings. Soon, I discovered when an
angler refered to just any small fly or insect as a midge, it was just a way of dodging
the question and admitting they actually didn't know what they were talking about.
Sure, I realize that it's common to call any very small fly, real or not, a midge, but it's
also common to find people working in fly shops that think trout survive and grow
large eating feathers and hair. Frequently, their knowledge of the food trout eat
doesn't go much past the first grade level of bugs.

For many anglers, and this could mean even a majority of anglers, midge fishing is
fishing almost invisible flies that imitate almost invisible insects. It sends chills
of frustration up some anglers spines.

Many may also think midge fishing means catching small fish. Many may also think it
means being only able to catch a couple of fish under very difficult circumstances.
Both of these lines of thinking are false.

The midges that make up the most important part of a trout’s diet are the chironomids,
which are members of the family of insects Chironomidae. The blackflies that are
common in many trout streams are also midges and yes, most midges are small, but
all small aquatic insects are not midges. They are found in all cold water streams
where trout exist along with most all other types of freshwater.
They can occur in
numbers that get close to reaching the national debt. Well, I may be
stretching the truth going that far. Surely there's not that many midges in the
. I do think I mentioned that according to the folks that should know, dipteran
insects represent about half of all the species of aquatic insects found in freshwater.

Don't look for Perfect Fly to come up with specific imitations of all the species of
There's several thousand different species just in the United States.
When you are trying to imitate midges, from an appearance standpoint, I think we
need to stick with the basics, or imitate the insects size, color and shape as close as
possible. Far more important is knowing how to imitate the insect's behavior and by
that I mean knowing when, where and how  to imitate them in the three stages of life
that the fish we eat them in -  larvae, pupae and adult flies.

Some midge larvae, such as blackflies, pupate or seal themselves in a cocoon. The
Chironomids are free living. They are similar to free living caddisflies and don't build
cases or pupate in a cocoon. They develop a thorax, wing pads and gills while they
move about. When these midges are ready to hatch (they really hatch from eggs) but
in fly angler's terminology, when they are fully mature insects inside a membrane
surrounding the pupa, they form gases inside the membrane and assent to the
surface. Not all species hatch in the surface like this but the great majority that do
come out of the pupal shuck and emerge on the surface to fly away. Some emerge
below the surface.

I will jump from midges to Fly Fishing Strategies for tomorrow's article and then get
back to midges with some more pointers on midge fishing techniques.

Our New DVD Release "Stalking Appalachian Trout".

Copyright 2011 James Marsh