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Approaching a Spring Creek Vol. 2 - Taking what the defense gives you / Impressionist Midges

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2006/9/9 17:18
From lancaster county
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Part 1: Taking what the defense gives you (in the spirit of playoff time)

Now, we discussed picking your battles. Know your strengths and weakness and remember, every situation is unique when on these streams.

Lets breakdown just a small list of uncontrollable events that change the way these streams fish and how you approach them.

Sunlight, weather, time of year, time of day, fishing pressure, difficult in the trouts lies, keyed in fish, your human factor , the speed of that the earth spins or just how hard you sneezed and slipped while standing in the water. These are things you can not control. You fish when you can and that means sometimes great conditions and other times poor conditions. How you adjust to these uncontrollable events will ultimately determine how successful you are on the stream.

A few examples of things you can control is how you approach the stream bank, how low and slow you move or fly selection. Yes fly selection. No one really thinks about how your choice of flies will make or break you in certain situations.

There has been to much spirited discussion on this board about if trout have intelligence or not. I like to pretend they do and in a “way” they do. It is said a goldfish, has a 3 second memory but every species on this plant has evolved to has strengths and weakness. Gold fish may have a 3 second memory, but they also don't bang into the other side of the tank “trying” to flee when I enter the room. Trout have evolved into elusive and “shy” fish. The only 3 “jobs” of their biological make up and senses do is: reproduce, hunt like a predator and spot you (a predator). That is it. Brook Trout have some of the best over head vision of any fish. The eyes are higher on the head and make it nearly impossible to sneak up on one. Their mouths open to great diameters to swallow the large prey they so opportunistically attacked. The lateral line feels the smallest disturbance.......from you and prey. The thing is trout condition more “rapidly” than lets say bass. Bass see you and you can still catch them. They are aggressive meat eating fish and you twitch an easy meal at them and they cant help themselves. Nature has not given bass the level of rapid conditioning as a trout. Trout see you and “run away” for the most part and hide. Pressured fish get “used” to you “very quickly”, even to the point “rejecting” your particular flies after multi--day trips. While this is not “brains”.........its conditioning..........trout are far more “advanced” quarry than many freshwater game fish when it come to fishing for the “sport of the prey”. Therefore......they are "smarter". They are “determined” to avoid you at “all costs”. They “hate” you. I had to quote so many times lets just agree......trout are smart So now we have an intelligent, highly honed in to its surroundings zen like fish sitting in the absolute worst conditions for you to catch him. The perfect enviroment. A crystal clear spring creek. The last post pcray mentioned I pick difficult situations and I am good at winning them. He is right and he gave an approach in rebuttal that is effective also. . I still believe, no I know, that more impossible situations exist on spring creeks for an angler than battles you can win. Even if your the Wilt “The Stilt” of high gradient brookies streams. You still wont win more battles than the Letort has conundrums. That is why I seek to break the ever changing little puzzles these streams make. So much feels uncharted and new.

What does this have to do with fly selection? Ill tell you.

Everyone always says fly selection is not as important as presentation. I agree. The wrong pattern presented properly will always trump the right pattern presented poorly. However, how you present your flies.....has everything to do with fly selection.

You can pound cress with streamers and catch fish but if you want to do yourself a big favor on spring creeks, learn to midge and nymph properly. For god sakes, learn to midge. Remember the speed of the earth rotating and your loud sneeze have the fish in a funk. Imagine what your heavy flies and weights do to the serenity of that mirrored waters surface. Imagine what those big eyes with incredible vision in that gin clear water see. Ill tell you. Shadows on the stream bed from your fly hitting the water. They see your weights. They maybe even feel it in their lateral line.

Midges are light, small so the get inspected less, they land softly......they create little ruckus when tossed into tricky currents. Everything biologically that these fish have evolved into and been conditioned to do.....midges are off the radar. The only bleep on the radar made by midges to these fish is that they are abundant and subtle. IMO many people don't like to fish midges either and therefore the fish are even more conditioned to eat them on heavily pressured streams. I do believe this so lets leave an impression Little white fluff, bright red, Peacock or even over sized, these flies catch the attention of the fish but have that subtle comfort the trout in spring creeks love. Quiet.

I was tossing sculpins, but I changed my approach and went with cress bugs and red midge larva. I threw black midges in a size 24 and caught some small rising fish. Still Cress Bugs and Red Midge Larva produced the most fish, mostly smaller fish and a few brutes. Even in that bright, bright sunlight.

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Take what the defense gives you and learn to fish midges more.

I know I'm telling you this but showing you mostly pics with huge flies in their mouths but I hooked a lot and have caught a lot of fish on midges over the years and this past weekend.. Size 6 Sculpins don't let go as easy.

Posted on: 2012/1/9 9:50
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Re: Approaching a Spring Creek Vol. 2 - Taking what the defense gives you / Impressionist Midges

Joined:
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From lancaster county
Posts: 6431
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Part 2: Impressionist Midges and how to fish them

Here is what a blood worm looks like in real life.

Here are some variations to my favorite Midge pattern, the blood worm. The blood worm is simple and cheap to tie, effective (especially on Rainbows and Brookies) and is a classic pattern. Probably one of the most effective but over looked fly in fly fishing history.

Mike Hecks book, Spring Creek Strategies mentions a pattern called theYong Special. To me this is the basic and simple version of this fly. You can get that material pattern list from his book. If you have been reading my post on spring creeks this long, you are into them also and go buy his book. It is the bible of the streams we are discussing and I have caught many fish on those midges.

Wounded Blood Worm
Materials:
Size #12 or #14 Mustad Hook
Beldings Wash Silk for Thread
1 red and 1 black 3/4 Bead It beads.(99 cents for like 500 at AC Moore
1 peacock eye

I like the silk thread because its kind of shiney looking.
Get fly looking like this by wrapping a small amount of thread over a few strands of anything white. Add a very small amount of glue. Move 1 red bead and 1 blackish bead forward over white strands but not forward the whole way wrap some red thread.

Finished fly

Retie thread over the hook and coat the hook. Tie in sparse amount of peacock eye against blackish bead. Wrap back to end of hook. 1/2 knot and add sparse amount of glue.

Here are some more patterns from the web:
Play with it and create many variations. Find some you like and go get'um.



MidgeZilla?
Materials:
Size 12 or 14 Mustad Hook
Coats and Clarks All Purpose Dual Duty Thread
1 stand of Peacock Eye
Artistic Copper Wire 20 Gauge in Red.( you get 6 yards of it for like 3 dollars at AC Moore.)

Click to see original Image in a new window

There is the finished fly. Believe it or not, difficult fish eat this thing. I know I wouldn't, but they do The copper wire is kind of stiff to work with but you can do it. Leave the wire on the roll, I found this to make it easier. You will lose some but it is cheap and plentiful.

What is an Impressionist Midge? What makes these patterns impressionistic is all the little things. One way to approach fish is to remember that you must trigger something for them to choose your pattern over a natural. Midges exist in good numbers in an enormous amount of Pennsylvania waterways. Spring Creeks are no exception. You must draw attention to yourself for once. In the game of spring creeks you spend 98% of your time TRYING NOT to draw attention to yourself. Well here is the 2 percent your given, in your tying and your presentations. Little white fluff, bright red, Peacock or even over sized, these flies catch the attention of the fish.

One way to present these flies, weather it be a Midge, Nymph, Cress Bug or Scud is what I consider to be a "summoning twitch". Place a small weight above a cress bug and tandem it with 12 inches of tippet attached to a blood worm. Spot your target fish. Throw your fly well above your target fish and allow it to start ticking off the bottom. Every second "tick" or so off the bottom, give it a small twitch. I have seen fish start to move towards the fly from a distance and that twitch triggers them into full bore bum rushing my fly. If they start to change their mind.........twitch it again. Sometimes they come back. You must do this when the fish is at a small distance. As they get closer, allow it to drift naturally. If they don't take let them get comfortable again. Repeat this until you either hook the fish or they lose interest. Repeat. Repeat. I have caught my fair share doing this.

I hope you have enjoyed the latest installment. Tight Lines!

Posted on: 2012/1/9 9:51

Edited by salvelinusfontinalis on 2012/1/9 10:08:53
Edited by salvelinusfontinalis on 2012/1/9 10:09:48
Edited by salvelinusfontinalis on 2012/1/9 10:12:34
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Re: Approaching a Spring Creek Vol. 2 - Taking what the defense gives you / Impressionist Midges

Joined:
2006/10/18 15:46
From Patterson twp, Pa (Beaver Falls)
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Another great post. I've learned to love the Griffiths Gnat. I probably catch more fish on top on that fly than any other (maybe a EHC). Everything you spoke of really gets into the details as to why midges work well. I've never really done much midging but know I need to. Once all these house projects get done the tying bench is going to see a few miles put on it.


Thanks again for the time you've put into enlightening us!

Posted on: 2012/1/9 10:56
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Re: Approaching a Spring Creek Vol. 2 - Taking what the defense gives you / Impressionist Midges
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2006/9/9 17:32
From Gettysburg
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[quote]
salvelinusfontinalis wrote:
Believe it or not, difficult fish eat this thing. I know I wouldn't, but they do /quote]

Actually, it's because trout aren't intelligent - they're downright dumb. Smallmouth bass are much more intelligent.

(Another great post BTW)

Posted on: 2012/1/9 11:05


Re: Approaching a Spring Creek Vol. 2 - Taking what the defense gives you / Impressionist Midges

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2008/1/31 17:19
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I love midging, it's a lot of fun. Good post.

Posted on: 2012/1/9 11:24


Re: Approaching a Spring Creek Vol. 2 - Taking what the defense gives you / Impressionist Midges

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From Patterson twp, Pa (Beaver Falls)
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Is that really you Pat? Did someone hack your account? 2 sentences?????


(we really need to meet up and fish the ANF this year!)

Posted on: 2012/1/9 11:46
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Re: Approaching a Spring Creek Vol. 2 - Taking what the defense gives you / Impressionist Midges

Joined:
2008/1/31 17:19
From Pretty much everywhere at some point, Thorndale today.
Posts: 13363
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Ry, hopin to get up there this spring, didn't make it last year. Had planned on my normal trip after the jam, but they had even more water than central PA, and with the LJR at ideal levels and everything else dropping nicely, we decided to stay put.

I'll keep ya posted, we typically try to time it starting on Sunday of the jam. Unsure if things will change with the baby, the in-laws might be of help.

Posted on: 2012/1/9 11:52


Re: Approaching a Spring Creek Vol. 2 - Taking what the defense gives you / Impressionist Midges

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2006/9/11 15:10
From collegeville, pa
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good stuff Sal, one thing though, I believe the yongs special represents the pupa not the larva.

Posted on: 2012/1/9 21:03


Re: Approaching a Spring Creek Vol. 2 - Taking what the defense gives you / Impressionist Midges

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2006/9/9 17:18
From lancaster county
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Quote:
Actually, it's because trout aren't intelligent - they're downright dumb. Smallmouth bass are much more intelligent. (Another great post BTW)


You sir are jumping the gun. I didn't get to Vol3 the final in this small series for awhile.

Smallmouth bass are just more fun in general. WWF is when I really feel like a kid again and I'm just fishing......to fish

govna,

Your probably right and I will check on that. See that is what makes our sport so great. I'm not doing these to enlighten or teach. These are really for entertainment purposes. As much as I've learned fishing these creeks, I'm still a beginner too.

Posted on: 2012/1/9 23:19
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Re: Approaching a Spring Creek Vol. 2 - Taking what the defense gives you / Impressionist Midges

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2011/12/19 17:07
From Indiana/Gettysburg PA
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Awesome post, why don't more people write articles like this!

Posted on: 2012/1/9 23:33


Re: Approaching a Spring Creek Vol. 2 - Taking what the defense gives you / Impressionist Midges

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2008/2/12 16:36
From New Cumberland
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Sal, you should consider a book of essays--tips, tricks and observations. i'd buy a copy. Thanks.

Posted on: 2012/1/10 16:23
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Re: Approaching a Spring Creek Vol. 2 - Taking what the defense gives you / Impressionist Midges

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2009/11/16 19:34
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When I was in MT the guides always set you up with a ray charles and a red wire midge. You can catch some big fish on those flies. Thanks again sal for the lesson.

Posted on: 2012/1/11 16:26
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" It has always been my private conviction that any man who puts his intelligence against a fish and loses has it coming"...John Steinbeck


Re: Approaching a Spring Creek Vol. 2 - Taking what the defense gives you / Impressionist Midges

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2011/6/12 20:15
From Newville, PA
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Sal,
Thanks for the great read. I've been fly fishing the bloodworm since the early 70's when the pattern was a local Big Spring secret. My ties have evolved, but I caught plenty of fish using plain red sewing thread. The local five and dime store sold a particular color of thread that was perfect match. If given the chance, I would purchase their entire inventory. Sounds terrible in retrospect, but apparently I was competitive in my teens. Must have 4 or 5 cases of it in my attic.

Posted on: 2012/1/23 20:05
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Time is but a stream we go fishing in. I drink at it, but while I drink I see the sandy bottom and detect how shallow it is. It's thin current slides away, but eternity remains.
Henry David Thoreau


Re: Approaching a Spring Creek Vol. 2 - Taking what the defense gives you / Impressionist Midges

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2011/7/6 12:30
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I would like to sing the praises of the blood worm. Sal took me to Big Spring for my first CV limestoner trip this Saturday. Of course he had me fishing sculpins and throwing cress bugs, but it wasn't until I tied on an olive midge with a blood worm dropped that I was able to catch my first two Big Spring bows.

Posted on: 2012/1/24 8:37






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