Fly Fishing Stillwaters with Midges
Lakes, ponds, impoundments, reservoirs that have healthy trout populations, probably have healthy midge populations as well. Midges are like nature’s trout candy store that is always open. They will hatch daily, rise daily, suspend daily. When you arrive at your favorite still water you will most likely see no real activity to key you in on how to fish it. If you do see rise circles or some subtle rises, consider yourself lucky and tie on a midge adult and settle in for some great dry fly action. Besides a rising trout your next best indicator might be your vehicle. If it is covered with midge splatter from driving in or you are constantly brushing them off you or your gear, watch the water some more. The takes can be extremely subtle and careful observation is many times required.
If you notice swirling activity just below the surface or even fins poking through the surface, then trout are feeding on suspended midge pupae. The surface tension of the water creates a barrier that must be penetrated by the pupae. Midge pupae do this one of two ways, they either repeatedly pop into this barrier with their heads or hook through tail to the surface and pull themselves through. Whichever process an individual midge uses, it takes time to break through. This pause from their ascension makes them extraordinarily vulnerable to swirling trout.
If none of the above is going on, do not despair. If there are trout in your chosen still water, then there are midges below. Midge larva emerge from their burrowed homes in the muck to once more avail themselves as pupa before they ascend. The trick here is to determine proper depth, which can easily be done from a float tube with an anchor or by tying pliers or forceps to leader and dropping them over. Remember to allow 18” for vegetation growth and then place your strike indicator at the right depth. If your fly keeps getting vegetation then shorten your leader. The pupa will hang right at the top of the vegetation.