Wednesday, August 13, 2014

Imposter Pupa

I started tying this pattern after studying chironomid pupae from several small lakes in northwest Wyoming. The first incarnations were tied with white wing pads. Those flies were fairly effective. As I continued to collect more pupae I found they all had faint orange or tan wing pads. After tying a few flies with orange wing pads I fished the two together switching them out from point to dropper, changing sizes and techniques. The orange version out fished the white 2 to 1 on a consistent basis on clear, sunny days and 3 to 1 on cloudy days. This led me to change to orange as the standard tie for this pattern. Like most midge pupa patterns black and red are the most consistent colors but purple and brown are not far behind in lakes and ponds with gray being a real contender in moving water.


I first tied the Imposter for fishing stillwaters but it has proved very effective in moving water also. In moving waters as the chironomidae larvae transform into pupae they rise from the bottom and become caught in the drift. As this happens they will ride the drift until the gasses build up enough in the pupal husk to take them to the surface. The trout recognize this as a time when the pupae are vulnerable and feed heavily on them. Though they may be small they are easy prey and loaded with calories. You will notice this feeding stage by the fact that the trout do not break the surface when they take the naturals. Often the trout will not even come near the surface and feed more than a foot below the surface. If they are breaking the surface a Shape Shifter or Umbrella Midge may be better choices.


I prefer to use this fly without any type of indicator. Instead I use a paste floatant to grease the leader. By greasing the leader to within a foot of the fly it will ride high in the water column where you can see a fish rise to take it by watching the water where the fly is riding. In super clear, slow water you may actually be able to see the fly itself. If the trout are feeding deeper leave a longer section of the tippet untreated.
Starting just days after ice out on stillwaters chironomidae become very active. In many species the larvae start to transform into pupae almost immediately. When this transformation occurs the pupae will start to rise toward the surface. This rise begins with the pupae suspending a few inches to a foot off the bottom and hanging there until the gases build up in the pupal husk enough to lift the pupae to the surface. This is the time when the pupae become a veritable smorgasbord for the trout.

In stillwaters an indicator is the best way to fish the Imposter in shallow water. I prefer a yarn indicator because it has been observed by divers that a yarn indicator is less likely to spook the trout. Suspend the fly under the indicator so that it will hang inches from the bottom. Because the fly has little weight it may be necessary to add a split shot a few inches above the fly to get it down when fishing deeper water. Indicator fishing on stillwaters is as simple as casting over feeding trout and waiting. When the indicator moves strike!
Rusty Brown

As time passes in the spring and the water warms the chironomidae will be located progressively deeper. It is often easy to see where the trout are located because of the rises to the emerging adults at the surface. On unfamiliar waters this may be the best way to locate trout then simply fish below the risers. If there are a high number of risers using a Shape Shifter or Midge-E-Merger as an indicator is an excellent alternative to the yarn indicator. In some cases you may find the trout are feeding more heavily on the surface emergers.

When using an indicator and suspended chironomidae pupa or larva imitations it is most desirable to have at least a light ripple on the surface. The ripple action of the waves adds life to the imitation making it appear to act like the naturals which bob ever so slightly as they suspend. When the water is dead calm it falls to the angler to add this action. It doesn’t take much but it is necessary to induce takes. Cast out and allow some time for the fly to sink. Remove all slack line between the rod and the indicator then briskly move the indicator by tapping the line just enough to move the indicator. You don’t want the indicator to move more than an inch at a time .Wait a few seconds and repeat. Almost invariably the take will come on the first “jump” of the fly.

Available in - Black, Dark Brown, Rusty Brown, Red, Olive, Purple, Gray, Tan,Yellow Olive

Size 16 - 24

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