Wednesday, February 27, 2008

Midges (Diptera)

Midges are the most abundant insect in almost all of rivers and lakes important to fly anglers. The majority of midges are the tiniest insects (hook sizes #20-28) on the water and for this reason are often overlooked. What they lack in size they more than make up for in numbers. During intense hatches tens of thousands can hatch over a few hours and create periods of heavy feeding. When trout key in on these ‘crumbs’ they can be very selective, which can cause plenty of head scratching. Some insight on the life cycle of these minute bugs may help on the next winter outing to your local river.


Most of the life span of a midge is spent as a larva. In this worm-like stage of life, it is not very mobile and can be found at the bottom of slow deep pools and runs within the sediment. During winter months trout tend to hold in the same types of water. Without observing trout in an obvious feeding behavior there is a good chance that they are sitting on the bottom waiting for food to drift in close proximity. For the best chance for success in this situation is to have larva patterns drifting naturally at or near the bottom.


When a larva matures it begins a transitional stage before it becomes a winged adult called a pupa. In this stage, the pupa begins to swim in short bursts to the surface. Between these short bursts the pupa rests and drifts naturally. During periods with large numbers of pupae, trout may hold in the portion of water column with the best chance of intercepting them. When observing feeding fish holding higher in the water column, drift a pupa and emerger patterns with little or no weight at the appropriate depth. If the water clarity makes it not difficult to see, this type of feeding can also be observed with the occasional ‘dimple’ or ‘ring’ made by a feeding fish near the surface. These ‘rings’ can often be mistaken for dry fly feeding and cause plenty of frustration to the unsuspecting angler.


For anglers that have not ventured out much in the winter months, it can be hard to imagine fishing with dry flies. Although it may be for very short windows, open rivers will produce surface action on most days. Observation of how the trout is feeding can be critical in choosing the proper fly pattern. With quick or more aggressive rising look for patterns that have hackle around the body or head to keep the fly resting just above the water. If you see slow to lazy feeding try using patterns that sit on or in the surface film. It is important to mention that matching the size can be extremely critical for success with this type of fishing. If fish continue to rise around your fly, tie on the next smaller size. Without knowing how long the dry fly action will last switching flies after one or two refusals in crucial.

These are just some general rules to keep in mind when out on the river during the winter months. Of course, once you gain experience you will find exceptions to these rules, but that is part of the adventure.

A Fly Fisher's Entomology

There is no question that by learning more about the insects that trout consider food, an angler can make better observations in a variety of fishing situations and therefore better fly selections. With the enormous subject of Aquatic Entomology it can be hard to determine what is useful information to the average fly angler and what is just plain nerdy. Over the next year, I will try to sift through the information and provide some general insight on some of these insects important during a particular month. Sometimes just making a connection with your surroundings makes all the difference in the world.

Monday, February 18, 2008

2008 Winter Fly Pattern Of The Month

This Little lip ripper has been quite the preformer on some of the tricky tail waters...

Flyin' Penguin Size 2-4


Christmas Ornament Streamer

Some Serious Movement And Flash! Santa's Little Secret!

Saturday, February 16, 2008

Local Fly Patterns From The Green River In Utah

I recently made a trip to the Green River in Utah. Denny Breer, owner of Trout Creek Flies was nice enough to share some of the local fly patterns from his shop. The red rock canyon walls of this famous stretch of river make it a beautiful destination for fly fishing enthusiasts from all over the world. Having crystal clear water, hundreds of nice size trout can be observed within a short hike below the reservoir. Having three main public sections, plenty of open clear water and the most trout per mile than any other river in the west, the Green holds plenty of fond memories for lots of fly fishing anglers the world over. If your like me and not a local resident of Dutch John, and don’t get to the Green as often as you’d like but read the weekly reports from Denny, you might appreciate the fly patterns listed below. Good luck on the water and tight lines!
















Posted By Nick Williams

Special Thanks To Trout Creek Flies