Monday, December 20, 2010

The Beautiful Buzzer

Suspended Animation
chironomid larvae
Courtesy Photo
.. The non-biting midge imitations are a staple of winter fly fishing in our neighborhood.
.. They are, as well, found in the ice fishers buckets and boxes. They are one of the most productive of the 'artificials.'
.. These little critters periodically come to the surface along all the open water in the region and go by many names in addition to midges and snow flies. Some call them "gnats," "fuzzy bills," "blind mosquitoes," "blood worms," and "nose cloggers."
.. An interesting, (and useful,) fact of their life cycle is that during the winter, in frozen lakes and rivers, the larvae do not pupate, but they suspend development and pass through the winter months as mature larvae.
.. This is the critter that both fly fishers and ice fishers imitate with great success. Still water or not, there are probably lots of midges where you fish.
.. Because of their life cycle, late fall and early spring are "midge seasons" in colder areas. In our area, happily, they are around most of the time - both beneath the ice and in our non-frozen rivers.
.. "Buzzer" seems to be an English term for the little darlings. Many of our neighbors buy their flies from merchants across the pond. One of their favorite suppliers is THE ENGLISH FLY FISHING SHOP, others are: Practical Fly Fishing & Fly Tying, and The Essential Fly.
.. The history of the imitative pattern is discussed HERE. There are quite a few folks in the neighborhood that tie up a few dozen of their favorite a couple of times per month. They stick with the simple epoxy patterns and use clear nail polish for a covering, (they say it is best for it's sparkling nature,) some even use glitter polish.
.. If you're interested in the bugs check out THE CHIRONOMID HOME PAGE. If you'd like to see some contemporary regional patterns see the Front Range Anglers page. Should you be interested in conventional still water tactics visit
.. The fly fishing psyche in our neighborhood is mightily skewed toward dry fly tools and tactics and thus, the wide array of successful nymphs is largely ignored by our local feather merchants. Some of them even close for the winter and migrate to warmer parts of the universe.
.. Ice fishers love these little patterns and frequently use them as the master fly with others rotated for probing and prospecting purposes. Sizes range from 16 to 10, with 12 and 14 being the most common.
.. More to come.