Friday, October 25, 2013

The Perfect Imitation

Stew's Black Midge

Hook:    Mustad 94840, Sizes 16-18
Thread: 6/0 Monocord
Body:    Black Poly Yarn
Hackle:  Black
Wing:     White feather fibers or ostrich herl

On a late spring afternoon, my friend Jim Colantino and I were fishing a high desert lake that held large Rainbow Trout. It wasn’t the warm, comfortable day that we had planned on. A blustery cold wind and a drizzle of rain periodically strafed the surface and dampened our hopes of hooking some nice fish. However, there were some windows of opportunity.

Lulls in the wind and rain calmed the surface which soon generated a good hatch of size 16 black midges. A few nice trout began to cruise the surface and randomly inhale the hapless insects. We didn’t waste any time in presenting our imitation—Stew’s Black Midge. It was a fly that I had developed at Jim’s request the season before and it quickly proved its worth. Numerous and sizeable fish were quickly hooked and released, when another problem began to develop. We had some unwanted competition—Barn Swallows. 

From the start it was an unfair game.  As soon as the elements abated the fish began to rise for the midges, and unfortunately the swallows began to dive and take the hapless midges as well. Then, as we began to cast, our adversaries began to attack our fragile imitations in midair. Just as our midge landed on the surface, the cagey birds would attempt to snatch it. To avoid hooking them, we had to pull it away. We eventually managed to catch several decent trout, but it was a frustrating experience and in the end the birds won the battle. Jim and I mutually agreed that sometimes perfect imitations can be too perfect, so we reeled in and chalked it up to experience. 

Below are illustrations of the developmental stages of a midge. 

                     Larva                        Pupa                       Adult

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