Its Midge Time Again
Winter brings a lot of things to the trout stream. Snow, ice, and cold are a few of them, luckily, so are fewer anglers and many midges.
Midge hatches hone an anglers skills more than almost any other kind of fishing. The flies are tiny, the tippets are light, and the presentations are delicate. This kind of fishing might sound difficult. It is. However, it can also be very rewarding. Here are a few things to remember when midging.
Think Small - There are thousands of species that fall into the "midge" category that range in size from barely visible to inch-long behemoths of the insect world. However, most midges in rivers and streams are between about size 24 and size 18.
Think Light - These small flies require light tippets. I like to use 6X or 7X standard tippet when I'm fishing midge dry flies and usually 5X or 6X flourocarbon tippet when I'm fishing midge nymphs. Remember that a light fly rod like a 3 or 4 weight will offer more tippet protection for these light tippets.
Think Soft - When trout begin to key on midges they notice even the smallest details. Summer time fish will sometimes rush to check out the plop of a hopper pattern but slapping your midges down in front of winter fish will send them into hibernation. Your midges must land soft and drift perfectly or fish will likely ignore them.
Luckily for us, most midge hatches are quite large in terms of numbers of bugs. Fish have to eat a lot of them to make a decent meal which means more opportunities for strikes. Get out there and toss (softly of course) some midges. The Winter weather is actually not all that bad when you have fish on the line.