Midges can prove valuable in fall fishing expeditions
In recent fishing trips to one of my favorite locations, Milton Reservoir about one mile below Jackson Meadows Reservoir, I was reminded about the value of fishing small flies during the fall. An angler should not overlook these tiny flies that most generically call midges.Fall on stillwater can be a real paradox. While large offerings such as streamer patterns that imitate baitfish, dragonfly nymphs or crayfish will take many large fish during the fall, it seems the small flies take fish consistently.Why? Most seasoned anglers know that a fish will feed on what is most abundant so that they do not have to expend more energy to acquire the food item than they take in. While these larger food sources provide a bigger mouthful, the fish may have to search and even chase down the larger prey.Small flies that hatch in great abundance and allow fish to slowly feed and take in huge numbers of these smaller insects. Thus, the fish expends less energy and satisfies its feeding requirements with great efficiency.Typically when anglers discuss small flies, we are talking about flies from size 18 hooks and smaller. Most midges are tied in size 2O or smaller hooks. Depending on the style of hook that the fly is tied on, the size can still be very different. This is because the hook shanks on different hook styles can be standard, extra short or extra long. This will give the same fish a much different appearance.With so many flies on the water when the trout are taking midges, many anglers find it extremely difficult to catch fish. While midge fishing can be one of the most exciting forms of fishing, it can also be one of the most productive when you get the hang of it.The biggest problem that most anglers have is trying to get a fish to take the imitation. When fish are feeding regularly, they follow a pattern. Figure out this pattern and you can put yourself into position to present your fly the next time the fish will be in that area.You can approach the fish in two different ways. First, you can time when the fish will feed in that area again, based upon the pattern that you have figured out, and make your cast accordingly.Second, you can also cast to that point and wait until the trout cruises into that area and then give your fly a slight twitch to give your fly the appearance of life.A third, usually less productive method is blind casting. Casting with an imitation as small as a midge pupa is not as productive as if you have a specific fish that you are working on.This should be saved for when nothing else is working, but you are still pretty sure that they are feeding on the small stuff.It seems that my most successful pattern involves the pupal stage of the midge. Patterns to represent these can be very simple patterns. Usually these flies will consist of a simple dubbed body and dubbed thorax that is picked out slightly. I like synthetic materials such as antron that give the fly some shine and trap bubbles that will represent the air bubble that midge pupae use to ascend to the surface.I typically fish the pupa in one of two ways. If it is very calm and the water is really flat, I will grease my leader to within six inches of the pupa. I will then watch the leader track on the water. When the leader pulls under, a fish has taken your pupa so all you have to do is gently tighten up the line and the fish should be hooked. When fishing in this manner, I will often use two pupa patterns. One is usually a light color and the other a dark pattern. I figure that I can really increase my chances this way.Another method is to use a dropper (second fly) or an indicator. I prefer to use a dropper just because the fish may take the second fly. My dropper is usually an adult midge pattern such as the Griffith’s Gnat. I tie my droppers in both a light and dark color to imitate the naturals that I see on the water. This dropper technique works particularly well when some fish are taking the adults.You can tell if the trout has taken an adult midge by watching the rise form that the trout makes. If you can see bubbles on the water after the fish has taken something, the fish has taken an adult. This is the time to use the midge adult as a dropper.An indicator is a great way to fish at times. My favorite pattern with the indicator is a small brassie. This sinks to whatever depth that you set the indicator and can really be a great technique when nothing else is working. Fish this around active springs, or on the edges of channels in the weeds.When the wind comes up, most anglers find that the fish are not as active on the midges. This is not always the case though. You can continue to find fish feeding on midges on the windward sides of the lakes. It is on these edges. Where the midges are being concentrated because of the wind, that you may find some great midge fishing.I often get asked about tippet size, and in many situations I find that I can get away with 5x. However, when it is very calm or there is a slight current, 6x seems to work better.The key is to stay observant and have those tiny flies ready for some great fall midge fishing. It is challenging fishing, but hooking a gorgeous fall rainbow or brown is a great reward. With practice you will find yourself fooling many fish.Fishing reportBoca – (38,178 ac. ft.) Boca has been fishing fair to good. Anglers fishing from shore are having some success. Most anglers use nightcrawlers or Powerbait. Boaters are having fair success on Kokanee. Most are using a combination of flashers and a wedding ring or Kokanee Bug with a piece of white corn. Those trolling for trout are using a combination of flashers and a nightcrawler or minnow imitating lure. Flyfishermen near the inlet should have fair to good action using a variety of nymphs, streamer, and emergers.Donner – Fishing has been fair. Most anglers fishing for rainbows on the west end and near the launch ramp have had some success. Nightcrawlers and Powerbait seem to be the main bait. Trollers using minnow imitating lures have had fair to good success. Kokanee fishing has also been fair to good Most are trolling Ted’s Bugs, Kokanee Bugs or wedding rings with a piece of white corn behind a flasher.Lake Tahoe – Fishing has been good for mackinaw. Most fish are in the five to seven pound range. A guide is highly recommended if you are fishing for mackinaw for the first time. Toplining and shore fishing is fair. Tributaries are now closedMartis Lake – (Martis is restricted to artificial lures with barbless hooks. Zero fish may bagged or possessed). Fishing is fair to good. Most use nymphs such as the Hares Ear, Pheasant Tail, Damselfly imitations or the A.P. Small midge patterns have also been good at times. Streamers that imitate small fish, and woolly buggers are also good choices. For surface activity, patterns such as the Quiqley Cripple, Martis Midge, Parachute Adams, and Griffith’s Knat are good choices.Little Truckee River – Fishing has been fair to good. Most anglers are using nightcrawlers, powerbait or salmon eggs at the inlet of Boca Reservoir. Flyfishermen are taking fish on nymphs, emergers and streamers.Prosser – (14,699 ac. ft.) Fishing here has been fair. Bank fishermen using nightcrawlers or Powerbait. Most trollers are pulling a combination of flashers and nightcrawlers or a minnow imitating lure. Flyfishermen near the inlets have taken a few fish mostly on nymphs and streamers.Stampede – (205,998 ac. ft.) Stampede is fair to good. Most shore anglers are taking a few fish. Most use the typical baits, nightcrawlers or Powerbait. Those throwing lures are also having some success. Kokanee are beginning to school. Best bet is to troll some form of flasher and a Kokanee bug or wedding ring with a piece of white corn. As Kokanee school up near the dam, jigs such the Buzz Bomb will work well.Truckee River – The release from the dam at Tahoe City is at 338 cubic per second. Fishing has been fair due to recent rains. Bait, lures or flies have been successful in the river between Tahoe City and Truckee. In the wild trout section below Truckee flyfishermen are using nymphs such as the caddis larva, prince, birds nest, hares ear, or pheasant tail with good success. For dries, a humpy, elk hair caddis, Quigley cripple or a Parachute Adams are hard to beat.Other Waters – Frenchman fished fair to good this past week. Davis lake has been fair. Jackson Meadows is fishing fair to good Milton Reservoir has been fishing fair to good for flyfishermen. Middle Fork of the Feather River & Portola Area – The Middle Fork of the Feather River and many of the smaller streams in the area have been heavily stocked and are fishing fair to good Pyramid lake northeast of Reno opened on Oct. 1. Fishing is typically good from the middle of the month right up until it turns really cold around the end of December.Sierra Sun E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.orgVisitors Guide | News | Diversions | Marketplace | Weather | CommunityCopyright, tahoe.com. Materials contained within this site maynot be used without permission.About tahoe.com…
Support Local Journalism
Support Local Journalism
Readers around Lake Tahoe, Truckee, and beyond make the Sierra Sun's work possible. Your financial contribution supports our efforts to deliver quality, locally relevant journalism.
Now more than ever, your support is critical to help us keep our community informed about the evolving coronavirus pandemic and the impact it is having locally. Every contribution, however large or small, will make a difference.
Your donation will help us continue to cover COVID-19 and our other vital local news.
Start a dialogue, stay on topic and be civil.
If you don't follow the rules, your comment may be deleted.
User Legend: Moderator Trusted User