Watching fish eat emergers can be a frustrating experience. One would think that tossing a dry fly in their general direction would be immediately inhaled and life would be good. But more often than not those pesky trouts can be very selective when they are feeding just below the surface. Especially when they are keyed in on smaller flies like midges. I know that we are not in full on midge season yet, hopefully we are far from it. But, these smaller flies certainly play a large roll in a trouts diet and must not go un-noticed, even during the summer months. Now that we are well into August, Tricos, Red Quills, Hoppers and PMD’s seem to dominate the dry fly scene. But if you look closely you will see midges mixed in. Although we all want that big Brown Trout to come up and smoke a hopper sometimes it takes a little more finesse to out wit that finicky fish.
Find the right flies and sink them. Thats right sink those smaller dry flies and fish them much like nymphs. Instead of using a big hopper or attractor as a lead fly in a multiple fly rig snip it off and use a pinch on indicator. I have found that using a large hopper pattern can put fish down if they are keyed in on smaller insects. The small pinch on indicator (must be white) looks much like foam bubbles and will not as easily spook selectively feeding trout.
Here is the setup. Your first fly should be a weighted midge/mayfly imitation that closely matches what is hatching. The next fly, tied off the bend with approx 18 inches of tippet, should be weightless, roy palms emerger (always a killer), griffith gnat, soft hackle pheasant tail, RS2…etc. Lastly attach your pinch on indicator approximately 18-20 inches above your first fly.
Treat you pinch on indicator much like a dry fly, try not to move it much and do not over mend it. The goal is to have the weighted fly (lead fly) sink just below the surface and into a trouts feeding zone. The tailing fly generally will be the one to get eaten and when it does it is a great take. The fish usually hooks itself and immediately jerks the line. Give this set up a try next time you find a pod of slow rollers eating emergers. It is a great way to hook fish that will not commit to a dry fly on the surface.