Midge fly called "Bosse"
By Björn Möller
(Family Chironomidae) is on the fish menu throughout the season.
With a midge pupa on the leader is time for excitement and
fighting. But it is important to fish the fly correct.
How often have we stood
there at the water, tearing our hair in dispair and changed fly
after fly - with poor results? While the fish mockingly feeding
frequently over the whole lake? The risk, or chance, are that
you at those occasions are in the middle of a midge hatching,
that “creates” very selective fish.
If you look closely at the surface of the water, you can see
that it is covered with empty pupa skins from newly hatched
midges, plus some hatched midges resting on the surface. Maybe
you now change to a little seductive "midge" dry fly. Probably
it does not help. It has been shown that during midge hatches,
fish will take about 50 pupae for every hatched midge taken.
after hatched midges can be found in abundant numbers on the
When the fish are taking
hatching midges it is usually with calm, rhythmic and repetitive
takes. As sharks they show the dorsal fin and tail for quite
some time as they slowly swim in the surface. This is
particularly true on blank water.
If the water is rippled
by the wind, the pupa easier break through the surface tension
and hatches therefore much faster. At this scenario the takes
will be more powerful. It is easy to be deceived on such
occasions, and you believe that it is something completely
different on the fish menu. Because you are used to believing
that when fish is feeding on midges it is by the calm, fine
The right technique
There are plenty of good
imitations to mimic midge pupaes. Maybe you have a personal
favorite that worked well for you. My personal favorite fly to
use when pupaes hanging in the surface and the fish feeds on
midges, is my own creation, I call it “Bosse” -, see tying
description below - soon will become ten years old.
The advantage of this
fly is that you do not need to grease the leader all th eway
towards the fly to get it to “hang” in the surface tension.
Approximately one meter of the leader tip I usually leave clean,
or prepared with sinking treatment. That way I get a pupae
hanging in the surface film by its own, and the water surface
surrounding the fly remains undisturbed by the leader -
something that might be necessary if the fish are skittish.
If you want success in
your fishing with midge pupae, you must learn the proper
technique. Are you fast enough, you might have time to put your
fly in the rise ring, possibly the fish then turns and takes
imitation. But often it is better to place the pupa one or two
meters in front of the fish's direction.
from my home water kan be extremely selective,
at these occasions “Bosse” is very effective.
Take it easy
With a little practice,
you learn to see which way the fish is hedding. If you are
unsure, then cast up against the wind. Approximately 90 procent
of the times the surface feeding fish swims against the wind
If there are no wind the
pupaes will take longer to hatch in the surface film. It is
important not to scare the fish when you cast. Try to position
the fly as gently as possible in the direction of the fish. Let
the pupa imitation lie still. If fish swims by, then let it swim
a few feet before gently lifting the fly for a new cast.
I have often spooked
fish that not found my imitaion. I've been stressed to lift too
early. Keep calm and slow down if you feel stressed
To mimic the natural
midge pupaes the imitations should be fished very slow or
completely still. When the fish takes, it does so slowly and
leisurely. Only when you attach the hook in the mouth you will
revive him. Be careful you set the hook and be prepared for the
Do you have a belly
boat, and use it with sense, take it with the next time you head
out on the "midge pupae fishing". The fish are not scared by the
“boat”, and you can "paddle" very close to the rising fish. It
happens that you can be so close that only the leader is outside
the top ring of the rod when you present the fly. Talk about
close encounters! Then you have to have your nerves under
The fly "Bosse"
behaves correctly in the water surface film
This is how to tye
This pupa have
celebrated triumphs during midge hatches. The special thing
about it is that it has polycelon as thorax section. Abdomens -
that may be of thread or fiber from wing pens - I tie it all the
way into the bend. Sometimes I dub the body, but remember that
the body should be slim.
When you secure the
polycelon, do not tighten the strips when you attach them in
front of the head. Fold them just backwards. Also make sure that
the strips are the same length on each side of the thorax,
otherwise one side will get more buoyancy and the pupae will not
hang straight in the water.
Hook: For example Mustad
Thread: size 6/0 in suitable colour
Tail: Very thin and white fluorescent wool yarn piece
Body: Optional, depending on colour of the local midge
Rib: Tying thread in i divergent colour
Thorax: Two strips polycelon tyed in on the sides,
pointing backwards where the thorax section begins. The strips
are folded forward on the sides and are secured. Before doing
so, you attach a piece of white fluorescent wool acting as head
Midge pupaes in short
Midge aren not biting
insects and do not suck bloodt. They are very common in our
waters and hatch in large numbers from early spring to late
autumn. Midges takes about a year to develop into fully winged
insect. It undergoes four stages: egg, larvae, pupa and adult
winged insect. For the fly fisherman is the most interesting the
Midges larvae are
slender and worm-like and can grow up to 30 millimeters long.
They swim, even though it is slow, very agile, and is therefore
extremely difficult to imitate for us fly fishermen. Personally,
I have never had any success when I fished with larva
The size of the pupa is
from a few millimeters up to about 15 millimeters. The colors
vary but black, brown and olive green are common. Pupa have
slender abdomen with a slightly bigger thorax sectiony. On the
head is a white crest which is especially visible in the water.
Even in the tail, these “tassels”, but here sparser and shorter.
There are midge pupaes
that hatch after sunset, species that hatch late mornings and
early afternoons. Some hatch more or less constant throughout
When it's time for the
pupa to rise to the surface to hatch it must first get out of
their pupa shell down at the bottom. Here it stays for a while,
and here begins the fish feed on them. A deeply fished pupa
imitation can fool the fish already at this moment.
Soon pupae rises towards
the surface. The fish has a chance to catch them at any level in
the “deadly road” to the surface. In the surface film, now hangs
thousands of pupae. Sometimes it takes several minutes to get
off the "overall" and can lift as winged miges. It is in this
waiting period the fish – and the fly fisher - has his/hers big
Text and photo
by Björn Möller 1994 ©