Insects and other foods the trout should be eating:
1.    BWOs (Little and Eastern BWOs)
2.    Little Yellow Quills
3.    Little Yellow Stoneflies
4.    Slate Drakes
5.    Needle Stoneflies
6.    Mahogany Duns

Most available/ Other types of food:
7.    Sculpin, Minnows (Streamers)
8.    Craneflies
9.    Beetles
10.  Grasshoppers
11.  Ants

Midges - Part 6
Before I get started with midges, let me advise that I didn't link the Fly Fishing Strategy Article -
Part 2 on our "articles page" yesterday. It was correctly linked on the home page only. My article
for 10/03/12 was linked to the same article as 10/02/12. If you tried to use that page to access the
articles, you may want to go back and read it.

I described midge larvae in part 5 of this series but didn't get into how we go about fishing
imitations of them. We use several different basic methods depending on the water. This is due to
the fact that it isn't exactly easy to determine when a trout takes you imitation of the tiny midge

Using a Strike Indicator:
Strike Indicators work okay in smooth flowing water with a fairly level bottom: Many tailwaters fit this
situation. It doesn't work that great in the freestone streams of the Great Smoky Mountain National
Park. If your using a strike indicator under these conditions, it's possible to fish a single midge
imitation, keeping it right above the bottom, or a double fly rig with either two midge larva imitations,
or one midge larva fly with a midge pupa fly paced several inches above the larva fly. In both cases
you will need to add some weight about six inches above the bottom fly.  

Generally, the strike indicator is placed on the leader about one and a half times the depth of the
water. Of course, this depends on the current and may need to be longer or shorter than that to
keep the larva imitation as close to the bottom as possible. I cast this setup up and across and
allow the fly or flies to drift downstream to a down and across position. Mend the fly line as soon as
it hits the water to help get the fly or flies down, and to help prevent drag.

Without A Strike Indicator:
This is the method we use in most cases. It isn't exactly an easy method but done correctly, it's a
good one. The problem is detecting the takes. You have to watch the end of your fly line or leader
floating on the surface for twitches or movements that are unnatural. By that I mean movements
that don't appear to be caused by the current or hanging something on the bottom. Naturally, this
requires a lot of concentration.

You need to add some weight about six inches above the fly to help keep it down near the bottom.
We use an up and across presentation In most situations. In smooth flowing, clear streams such as
some tailwaters and some spring creeks, we use a down and across presentation to get the fly to
the fish before the leader and fly line gets close to the fish. Either way, you must closely watch the
end of the fly line, or if your in fairly shallow water, the end of the uppermost section of the leader.

You generally won't be able to feel a trout take the fly and sometimes they take it undetected. In
this situation, at first, it feels like you have hung a sponge or small stick in the water - something
that moves but adds pressure to the rod tip. In this case, a trout probably has the fly in it's mouth.
Irrespective of your detecting the take by sight or feel, it's a good idea to set the hook as quickly as
possible and think about it later. Remember, this doesn't take a hook set like my friend Bill Dance
uses fishing worm for bass. It only requires that you raise the rod tip quickly and smoothly. You
should be using 6X or 7X tippet with the small 20 or 22 hook size midge larva imitation. Too hard of
a hook set will only serve to break the fly off on a good size trout or the bottom.  

Sight Fishing To Individual Trout:
We use midge flies mostly during the Winter in the park and sometimes you can spot trout feeding
on the bottom. This is often the case in smooth tailwaters and spring creeks. Cold water holds less
suspended particles than warmer water and this means your usually fishing very clear water during
the colder parts of the season. This helps to spot trout feeding on or near the bottom. If your
fishing midges, you can sometimes hook the trout by casting well upstream of the fish and allowing
the fly to get down near the bottom and drift downstream to the fish. You want to make sure you
cast further enough upstream to have time for the fly to get down. It also helps to let the fly drift to
the trout slightly to one side so you can see the trout turn to take the fly. If it drift directly to the
trout, it is difficult to determine when the trout takes the tiny midge larva imitation fly. This method
isn't an easy one and requires some practice to stay hidden and get the fly close to the trout.
Copyright 2012 James Marsh
Perfect Fly midge larvae thumbnails:
Click image: Top:Cream Midge Larva;
Middle Green Midge Larva; Bottom
Red Midge Larva.