Bruce Ajari | Don’t overlook midge fishing tactics |

Bruce Ajari | Don’t overlook midge fishing tactics

Bruce Ajari
Gone Fishin'

Last week I talked a little about the two-winged flies of the Diptera order. These are tiny to larger flies that are found in great abundance and thus are an important part of a trout’s diet.

Generally, the best conditions to fish this particular hatch are windless cloudy days or morning or evening periods where they are found. Lakes are a great place for the angler to find these hatches, although streams also have great hatches of midges.

The most important stages of this insect appear to be the pupa and adult stages for the angler targeting them on the surface. The larval stage is a great one if you want to go subsurface for trout.

When most anglers think of fishing the midge, however, it is the visual surface or just subsurface stage that excites them. The pupa stage is probably the most productive pattern during these periods.

Fish will generally show themselves and often times will feed moving along slowly in one direction. In such cases the angler just has to anticipate where the fish will appear next and lead it much as a person leads a bird in flight with a shotgun.

One of the best tactics while fishing the pupa stage is the greased-leader tactic. An angler will apply fly floatant to the leader from the butt to within 2 to 3 inches of the fly itself. What this does is it allows the pupa imitation to hang just below the surface, just as an emerging pupa does just below the surface tension that is created on the water that provides a barrier that the pupa must break through.

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A leader track is created on the surface that the angler can actually see quite clearly. This becomes the strike indicator for the fly fisher. When a fish takes the pupa, the leader can actually be seen moving. All the angler needs do is to lift gently and tighten the line. Fish on!

Many times if an angler can cast quickly to a rise, the trout will hit the fly as an impulse. I have been pretty successful using this technique at times. It is another tactic worth trying.

I also use a heave-it-and-leave-it technique if there is no visible feeding pattern to the fish, but there are numerous fish showing. The trout will find the imitation in this case because they are moving constantly while searching for food.

In these latter two tactics, I will most likely use a dry-midge pattern because of the visual nature of the take. I use a fly that a friend of mine developed years ago. It is a small parachute-style fly that imitates many midges. I have found it successful for fish everywhere that fish are feeding on small flies.

Midge fishing is one of the most satisfying forms of fishing for trout. It is almost like fishing a dry fly, my favorite form of fishing for trout. While most large fish are caught subsurface, an angler can do pretty well with the dry fly during specific times of the year when the primary large fish hatches occur. Do not overlook fishing midges to catch some very large fish.

and#8212; Bruce Ajari is a Truckee resident and regular fishing columnist for the Sierra Sun and other area newspapers.