.......................  ......Fly Fishing Yellowstone National Park


Catching Yellowstone Trout in Cold Water - Part 10

Some of the midge larvae and pupae found in Yellowstone National Park and
elsewhere for that matter, appears segmented. By that I mean they have
alternate shades of light greens and darker greens, or light creams and light
browns. The segmentation is so subdued it is often difficult to see it with the
naked eye. It is never highly contrasting colors that provide the segmented
appearance. The most difficult to match midge larvae, and some pupae, are
clear alternating with either light green or light cream colors. Clear is a difficult
color, or I guess you should say, lack of color, to match.

The midge pupae are not much different from the larvae in appearance. They
differ only because they have developed a small wing pad or fat looking darker
colored section near their head.  They are the most important stage of life to
imitate because this is what the trout focus on during a hatch. The larvae of
most midge species spend their short life in the soft bottom, sand or decaying
leaves and vegetation on the bottom. Trout will eat the adults on the surface,
but nothing to compare with the number of pupae they eat during a hatch.

My first real experience fishing midge patterns was on the San Juan River in
New Mexico. When Angie and I first went into a local fly shop to purchase a New
Mexico fishing license, I was amazed at their fly selection. You couldn't find a
mayfly, stonefly or caddisfly pattern. There were hundreds of midge patterns
and I would guess the average hook size was a 22 or smaller. The long fly bins
were covered with plastic tweezers placed there so you could pick up the tiny
midge flies and place them in a container to purchase them.

I just decided I would catch trout the same way I had been catching them, on the
same flies I had been using and not be thrown off-course with a local fly shops
huge display of midges. After a full day of fishing, we concluded something was
wrong with what we were doing. I managed a couple of small trout on a size 20,
blue-winged olive nymph and that was it. Our second day there, we meet a nice
gentlemen who took the time to show us his midge rigs. I think he noticed we
were not using midges. He had hundreds of midge flies in two small boxes, all of
which he tied using various sizes of thread. He insisted we take about two dozen
of them and then he walked down to the river and demonstrated how he fished
them. He caught two trout showing us how to do it. I was amazed at the
effectiveness of his presentation.

Copyright 2009 James Marsh