Midge Pupa, continued:
The papa looks almost like the larva with a thick thorax that contains the wings of the
developing midge. The hardened case, or puparium which is a capsule-like case,
contains the wings and legs. When they begin to emerge, the wings become much more
Some species that dwell in streams crawl out of their pupa cases while they are still on
the bottom and swim to the surface as adults. Trout can easily feed on them at this
time. This is much less common than surface emergence.
Especially in water that is calm where there is a heavy surface film, midges can have a
very difficult time penetrating the surface film and consequently, there may be a large
number of midges that die trying. Often the feeding trout don’t give them time to get
through it. These pupae are easy takings for the trout, and along with the cripples that
just didn’t emerge right for one reason or other, can cause them to concentrate only on
this phase of the hatch.
Fishing Pupa Imitations:
You should pay attention to details when you are fishing a midge hatch. Often, there is
more than one species of midges, sometimes several. You must be able to key in on
the size, color and stage of a hatch to be most successful. Midge larva patterns are
generally effective early in the mornings and between hatches. They should be worked
on or near the bottom. The pupae are quite different in color from the larvae and the
adults quite different in color from the pupae and larvae. The pupa usually brings the
most activity. Trout really focus on the pupae suspended in the surface film trying to
Use a nine-foot 5X tippet and add about twelve to fourteen inches of 5X tippet using a
surgeons knot. Tie on an attractor type midge pattern to the end of the added tippet.
Using an improved clinch knot, tie on an additional 18 inches of 5 X or 6X tippet to the
bend of the hook in the attractor fly. Add the midge larva imitation to the extended
tippet. If added weight is needed,
place it on the leader just above the first knot you tied to add the extra tippet to keep in
from sliding down the leader. If you are using a strike indicator, attach it approximately
one and one-half times the depth of the water from the bottom fly.
In especially clear water, you may want to use a 6X for the upper tippet and 7X for the
extended portion. This rig can also be cast without weight for trout feeding on
emergers. Change the larva imitation to a pupa imitation. Remember, when trout begin
to feed on the emerging midge pupae, you will usually just see the fins of the fish break
Often it works well to fish the midge pupa in conjunction with a mayfly emerger or caddis
pupa. It is common for the trout to take the midge emerger and ignore the mayfly or
caddis. This sometimes works when you see fish rising but do not see any flies in the air.
Copyright 2013 James Marsh
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