Understanding Fish Foods
Mosquitoes and midges, those bothersome bugs you can barely see, belong to a huge group of insects that fish eat. Their scientific name is Diptera: Di means "two," and ptera means "wings." Horseflies and deerflies also belong to this group, with more than 8,000 members in North America.
On slow streams and many ponds, two-winged flies are so numerous that fish depend on the insects as a principal food source.
Minuscule midges are especially important. On many waters, they emerge throughout the year. Fish eat the midge's worm-like larva, the first stage of the insect's life, as well as the pupa, which often suspends itself in the water's surface film just before the adult breaks out of the pupa's skin to fly away.
Generally, you should not animate flies simulating midge larvae and pupae; in nature, they simply drift with the current. Cast the fly so it lands on the water above the fish, with plenty of time to sink. If you can see the fish, watch for its head to turn slightly or look for its white mouth to open quickly to take your fly. Then lift your rod to set the hook.
The midge's much larger relative, the crane-fly larva, does wiggle as it moves in the flow, so you should animate imitation crane-fly "worms" by slightly twitching the fly line after the fly sinks.
Flies imitating adult midges and crane-flies are fuzzy to make them appear as though they are hovering on the water's surface. On most occasions, you should allow them to float in the current without drag.
When fish are not responding, however, you may be able to trigger a strike by 11 "skating" the fly: Cast the fly across the current, then hold your rod tip high to keep line off the water. A few inches at a time, pull the fly toward you so it appears to be skating weightlessly with the water's current.
Details mentioned in this article were accurate at the time of publication