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Artistic view of a Male Pteronarcys californica (Pteronarcyidae) (Giant Salmonfly) Stonefly Adult from the Gallatin River in Montana
Salmonflies
Pteronarcys californica

The giant Salmonflies of the Western mountains are legendary for their proclivity to elicit consistent dry-fly action and ferocious strikes.

Dorsal view of a Kogotus (Perlodidae) Stonefly Nymph from Mystery Creek #199 in Washington
This one pretty clearly keys to Kogotus, but it also looks fairly different from specimens I caught in the same creek about a month later in the year. With only one species of the genus known in Washington, I'm not sure about the answer to this ID.
27" brown trout, my largest ever. It was the sub-dominant fish in its pool. After this, I hooked the bigger one, but I couldn't land it.
Troutnut is a project started in 2003 by salmonid ecologist Jason "Troutnut" Neuswanger to help anglers and fly tyers unabashedly embrace the entomological side of the sport. Learn more about Troutnut or support the project for an enhanced experience here.

Adirman
Adirman's profile picture
Monticello, NY

Posts: 479
Adirman on Apr 18, 2011April 18th, 2011, 12:16 am EDT
I read something about midges being effective patterns from time-to time in cold weather as they are year-round insects (right?). Anyway, what patterns are effective for fishing midges? I'm thinking more in the larval stage this time of year but info on dries for midges would also be helpful.
Thanks!
Jesse
Jesse's profile picture
Posts: 378
Jesse on Apr 18, 2011April 18th, 2011, 2:09 am EDT
Brother if you can have zebra midges from sizes 18-24 in colors red, black, olive and cream you can pretty much cover the spectrum. As far as dries go ive had the most success fishing griffiths knats in sizes 22-24. They will feed more heavily as the flies are emerging though, theyre most vulnerable then!
Most of us fish our whole lives..not knowing its not the fish that we are after.
http://www.filingoflyfishing.com
Entoman
Entoman's profile picture
Northern CA & ID

Posts: 2604
Entoman on Apr 18, 2011April 18th, 2011, 6:37 pm EDT
Adirman-

Midge fishing: If you have a chance go to Phil Rowley's or Brian Chan's websites. Or better yet, read anything they have written on the subject. Most of the time a haphazard approach to midge fishing will lead to frustrating results. These creatures have very unusual habits and fish feeding on them are usually highly selective. If they are clearly working the surface and you aren't sure what they're eating, you can't do better than the good old Griffith's Gnat. Trying to imitate the individual adult is often a fool's errand and pupal imitations are usually only effective if they precisely imitate at least the size and location of the natural. I pretty much only use a size 20 GG in these situations since they most likely imitate a clump of midges anyway and is usually even more effective than the smaller ones that may be a better match.

These critters stage at various depths by the thousands (or millions) for reasons not clearly understood and the fish cruise back and forth through these underwater "clouds". The best method is to fish a very long tippet without action and with a matching pupa/larva at the proper depth near the edge of one of these "clouds". "Easier said than done" figuring that all out.

Regards,

Kurt
"It's not that I find fishing so important, it's just that I find all other endeavors of Man equally unimportant... And not nearly as much fun!" Robert Traver, Anatomy of a Fisherman
Adirman
Adirman's profile picture
Monticello, NY

Posts: 479
Adirman on Apr 18, 2011April 18th, 2011, 11:21 pm EDT
Thank you gentleman for your info as you've been very helpful!
Entoman
Entoman's profile picture
Northern CA & ID

Posts: 2604
Entoman on Apr 19, 2011April 19th, 2011, 5:57 am EDT
You're welcome.
"It's not that I find fishing so important, it's just that I find all other endeavors of Man equally unimportant... And not nearly as much fun!" Robert Traver, Anatomy of a Fisherman
Keystoner
Keystoner's profile picture
Eugene, OR - formerly Eastern PA

Posts: 145
Keystoner on May 4, 2011May 4th, 2011, 2:52 pm EDT
I can't really speak on the "dry" aspect of midges, however, last winter I experienced what I can only desribe as fantastic results fishing Red zebra midges on a stream that holds many wild browns. Only the red ones seemed to work, in sizes 18 & 20. These were flies that I tied, with a gold bead head, and silver wire wrap. Fished exactly as I would fish any other nymph pattern. The pinnacle of this was one morning in January with an air temprature around 10F. I started fishing almost exactly at 7am, and proceeded to catch 6 in about as many minutes. Literally every cast returned a trout. Good times.
"Out into the cool of the evening, strolls the Pretender. He knows that all his hopes and dreams, begin and end there." -JB
FredH
FredH's profile picture
Lake Charles , Louisiana

Posts: 108
FredH on May 4, 2011May 4th, 2011, 7:03 pm EDT

Here's a picture of some very worn midge patterns out of my box and the next picture is of a midge exoskeleton after the adult emerged.I tied the upper portion of the fly with a loop of mono covered with mono thread so it would appear the emergence is iminent.I had better sucess with the black midges (not pictured) but tan and red were also effective.
Fred
Falsifly
Falsifly's profile picture
Hayward, WI.

Posts: 660
Falsifly on May 6, 2011May 6th, 2011, 3:19 am EDT


I’ve found this pattern most successful for me, in the water I fish, when the midge emergence is prolific enough to trigger feeding. I first became mesmerized with midge fishing years ago in the late winter and early spring because I was intrigued by the eagerness the trout displayed for the diminutive and the challenge to deceive with the exiguous. My early attempts were first met with great frustration, as you can imagine when you find yourself amidst a feeding frenzy and nothing seems to work. That only whet my appetite to persevere. As happenstance would have it I managed to take the curlicues out of my leader by a couple of fish caught on an obscure store bought pattern. Not happy to have to succumb to picking through display cases I tweaked and played and amazed myself with results. I tie in sizes 20, 22, 24 and 26, but I find 22 and 24 my most productive, however the fish taken on the 26 are most satisfying. I think one of the most amazing self discoveries for me, is how effective small flies in these sizes can be in fast, and I mean fast, water. There was a time when I would have scoffed at even the suggestion. There are numerous techniques that I use during emergence which obviously depends on the water and the way the fish are feeding, and the current discussion on another topic brings this to mind. Often, as with many hatches, the fish are feeding at or just below the surface, but it starts at the bottom and works its way up. If you’re in slow water and need to get down a floating leader can be a huge hindrance, especially so in the smaller fly sizes, and the addition of weight, often times, only exacerbates a bad situation. I prefer a fly that will cover from top to bottom rather than having to change flies, and again in these small sizes it is my preference to manipulate by greasing the leader and tippet, or not.
Falsifly
When asked what I just caught that monster on I showed him. He put on his magnifiers and said, "I can't believe they can see that."
Adirman
Adirman's profile picture
Monticello, NY

Posts: 479
Adirman on May 7, 2011May 7th, 2011, 3:20 am EDT
Falsifly;

The fly that you posted, is that an emerger pattern for midges? Also, you say they're in the 20-26 range but you use no weight to get them down? Do they get down well enough when you're fishing 'em deep or do you add weight? Maybe a sink-tip leader? What about a srike indicator?

Thanks,

Adirman
Keystoner
Keystoner's profile picture
Eugene, OR - formerly Eastern PA

Posts: 145
Keystoner on May 7, 2011May 7th, 2011, 8:21 am EDT
Personally, I fish a size 20 Zebra Midge in red. I use 7x tippet with one small split shot about 12 to 14 inches from the fly. Additionally, I do use a strike indicator. I have found this rig to be most effective in slower deeper pools or runs.

I have also been made aware of a system which involves fishing a tiny midge fly(dry) with a zebra "dropper." With this setup the dry is supposed to double as a fly AND an indicator to your dropper. Haven't had a chance to really get into this yet, just throwing it out there.
"Out into the cool of the evening, strolls the Pretender. He knows that all his hopes and dreams, begin and end there." -JB
Falsifly
Falsifly's profile picture
Hayward, WI.

Posts: 660
Falsifly on May 7, 2011May 7th, 2011, 9:38 am EDT
The fly that you posted, is that an emerger pattern for midges?


Yes, which is different from my larva patterns.

Also, you say they're in the 20-26 range but you use no weight to get them down? Do they get down well enough when you're fishing 'em deep or do you add weight?


The water depth, current speed, and where the fish are feeding dictate the addition and amount of weight necessary to get the fly to the fish. Yes I use weight as necessary.

Maybe a sink-tip leader?


I’ve never used a sink-tip leader, but I have used sink tip lines. I think that the addition or removal of weight, as the conditions require, would be much easier than changing leaders, and offers more control.

What about a srike indicator?


In fast water I will use an indicator, in slow or quite water I don’t think an indicator is necessary, but that doesn’t mean it should be removed. It’s matter of choice. In slow or quite water always remember that the take can be so subtle as to be almost undetectable.
Falsifly
When asked what I just caught that monster on I showed him. He put on his magnifiers and said, "I can't believe they can see that."
Adirman
Adirman's profile picture
Monticello, NY

Posts: 479
Adirman on Jun 13, 2011June 13th, 2011, 2:33 pm EDT
Guys;

Went to the Neversink on Saturday and saw a few small browns feeding on midges. Looked like #20 or so tan colored size flies on the surface but I think they were actually hitting them just below the surface.Talked to a guy who said he had caught a couple w/ a WD-40 which when i researched, appears to be a midge pupa pattern. Since I had NO midges in my flybox, I was screwed! Went right home though and ordered some online!!
Sayfu
Posts: 560
Sayfu on Aug 18, 2011August 18th, 2011, 4:44 am EDT

We talking lakes, or streams? In Rivers, I have had good fortune using a thread abdomen, bumped up thorax, and a soft hackle with a very tiny plastic black bead at the head, soft hackling it with a starling feather, or a small darker partridge feather. I use the midge/pupa hooks in #18 that are wider gape, and shorter shank. The color used is black. Hopefully I will get an opportunity to tell you the easy method I use to soft hackle these small flies.
Adirman
Adirman's profile picture
Monticello, NY

Posts: 479
Adirman on Aug 18, 2011August 18th, 2011, 7:57 am EDT
River, and I look forward to hearing more about your patterns!
Goose
Posts: 77
Goose on Aug 19, 2011August 19th, 2011, 4:57 am EDT

Here's a picture of some very worn midge patterns out of my box and the next picture is of a midge exoskeleton after the adult emerged.I tied the upper portion of the fly with a loop of mono covered with mono thread so it would appear the emergence is iminent.I had better sucess with the black midges (not pictured) but tan and red were also effective.
Fred


Can you explain how and what you used to tie the thorax? Looks like you have white foam on it?
Bruce
Sayfu
Posts: 560
Sayfu on Aug 20, 2011August 20th, 2011, 5:14 am EDT
I had the good fortune to sit down with Sylvester Nemes at our big Fly Tying Expo we hold every year in April in Idaho Falls. He was tying soft hackles at a booth, and I sat down to watch not knowing it was Sy. I raved about the fly type, and how well I had done with it, and the guy next to me said, "do you know who that is?" I didn't know, and then was very excited to watch him tie, and meet him. That was back in 2004 ? He said to sit and watch him tie another fly, and said he wished he could tie one smaller than size #14, and that 12's, and #14's were all that he tied. I told him, "I can do it." And he got up, and put me in the pilots seat. He got out a pencil and paper, and drew up the method, and it is in his latest soft hackle addition. I don't know if Sy is even alive today. I do know that his health was very bad shortly after the show. My method depends on a bead behind the head. For small patterns fished near the surface, I use the XSM glass beads. They come in black, brown, peacock colored, and look like a shiny bug head. The bead secures the feather butts. You prepare the feather by cutting out the tip, and cutting it back to where you like the length of barbules. Choose how many on each side, you can remove the rest from the stem, and a simple pattern can be a thread abdomen, a bumped up thorax that will hold the hackle fibers out, and you angle down and place the prepared feather at the thorax front, and behind the bead. A couple of soft wraps, holding the feather down, and pull tight. At this point, you can manipulate the feather, and even pull it back through the wraps if you see the hackles extend back to far for your liking. A few more wraps, tie it off, and I trim the butts like a short elk haired caddis head. The key moving hackles are the ones to the side. The fish sees the body profile, and the moving legs. Unfortunately, Sy does not use any synthetic material..says it isn't fly fishing, so no beads, I had to secure the feather without the advantage of pulling the feather down behind the bead. I tie them in bigger, streamer types using a mallard flank feather on bigger hooks, for a golden stone, or Salmonfly nymph using the long, pheasant rump hackles...everything from a #18 on a short shanked caddis/pupa hook to a #6 3xl streamer, or large nymph type. And they have been dyno-mite fishing riffles getting long, fly presentations. I even began spey casting a switch rod, and spey casting a 9.5' single hander...i bird hunt, and have used the soft hackles of a lot of game birds..the various grouse, partridge, ducks that have some great feathers from ducks like Gadwalls, pheasants...makes fishing them even more fun.
Sayfu
Posts: 560
Sayfu on Aug 20, 2011August 20th, 2011, 7:37 am EDT
I got away from my original popular river midge fly..I tie a soft hackle on a #18 short shank caddis/pupa hook, and use a starling feather prepared, and secured behind a tiny XSM black, plastic bead, and secure it in after creating a black thread thorax using the flat 70 denier thread...I like the coloration of that thread, and how it lays, and covers, and then bump the thorax up with black dubbing. Could be a still born I guess, but swinging it through fish working on midges has worked well trying to create as drag free as I can from above the fish.

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