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Dance Flies

2013/4/27 11:48
From WV
Posts: 6
One of my favorite patterns when the water's thin and the fish are working something steady but invisible:

Years ago I was astream in low water, late summer conditions. The fish were working steadily but nothing was visible coming off. I had been reading Schwiebert's article on a bug the English chalk stream guys called a smut, Hilara, and noticed those tiny black insects buzzing just above the water's surface. I finally managed to land a trout and used an ayemidge to see what it had been eating. It was full of those tiny black bugs!!

Back at the motel, I tied up some in size 28's and have been a believer ever since. I can catch those gentle "dimplers" who fin their noses at conventional mayfly and caddis patterns, sometimes almost at will.

The pattern is simple. Size 26 or 28, fashion an ant-shaped body with black thread. Put 2 turns of high quality black hackle at the throat, trim it flat top and bottom,, and top with a tiny black or grizzly hackle tip laid flat on top of the back, jassid-style. Fish it in the film, downstream to sippers on a long, fine, 7 or 8X tippet that you've treated with leader sink. Work into position slow and easy and take your time.

If that don't work in high summer-skinny water, little else will!!

Posted on: 2013/6/24 19:50

Re: Dance Flies

2011/4/29 10:35
From Boiling Springs, PA
Posts: 2
Cool info! With the large numbers of those dance fly swarms that you see one would think that they must be on the menu for fish. I'd love to see a photo of the pattern you describe.

Just as an aside, to my knowledge, Hilara is not present in streams of PA. There are however several other genra of Empididae. That are present. The list that I have includes, Chelifera,Clinocera, Hemerodromia, Neoplasta, Oregeton, Wiedemannia. The first three, are the ones that I see most often.

Posted on: 2013/6/25 9:20

Re: Dance Flies

2013/4/27 11:48
From WV
Posts: 6
Thanx for the response. The information I had on Hilara at the time was from material published in the 50's and 60's. You most certainly could be right.

It's great to hear from someone whose as fascinated with the entomology in our streams and how it relates to our trout and our fishing. From the vantage of my age, I can recall how back in the 60's, those of us who ran along the banks with butterfly nets chasing bugs were sometimes given a wide berth. Nowdays, you younger guys and your knowlege is inspiring.

But, let's not forget those old timers who laid the ground work for that approach. They, Marinaro, Swisher-Richards, Schwiebert, Fox, Caucci-Nastasi, et all, certainly deserve credit for getting flyfishers thinking along those lines. And just think about how much additional depth that extra component adds to our angling day astream!

Posted on: 2013/6/25 11:19

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