Question of the Week: October 1, 2021

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Question:

I was on the Owyhee River the other day and I had a million fish rising right in front of me.  I took out my handy net seine and seined the water for about 5 minutes. When I raised my net I saw tons of tiny, I mean tiny, little black worms.  What the heck are them bugs?

Answer:

First I’m not there to look at the seine full of tiny worms.  But having fished the Owyhee River for decades I can tell you a couple of things about what I think those bugs are.  First those bugs in your seine are what all those trout were feeding on.  Second, those tiny little black worms were more than likely tiny Midge Pupas rising to the surface to emerge as adult black Midges.  The easy answer to your lack of catching was simply you did not tie on a Midge Pupa emerger.  The complicated answer is brown trout eat Midges year round. That’s right – every day, on the Owyhee River.  Usually more towards the morning but it can happen at any time.  They will also eat them as they drift along the bottom of the river.  What is complicated is not the fact that those trout were eating midges in front of you but your choice of fly must match the exact size as the natural in you seine.  This is where  fly fishers fail.  They recognize the trout they see rising are eating Midge Pupa but they do not have the correct size Midge Pupa fly pattern that matches the naturals.  They might catch a trout or two but miss out on catching lots of them.