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Im kind of caught between the two theories of "small" vs "big" and "realistic looking" vs "its kinda close..."

Sometimes i think profile is whats most important...especially with midges. if it resembles the natural in shape and diameter, that is usually good enough for me. size in this situation is important, epecially if the fish are keying in on one type of insect in particular. ive spent alot of time trying to tie a dead on exact imitation, and for the most part havnt had more success with something that appears to me as a dead on match. this has been the case a lot of times with midge dries....ive fished stuff that looked exactly like the real thing, and have had the same success as with something that was just close. who knows...i dont :)

There have been times also when ive thrown the usual small stuff and havnt had any luck, and then tied on something that was totally out of the norm and just slayed fish. sometimes they want something that is just different than the usual fare. once again..who knows :)

I think the most important thing no matter what fly you fish is PRESENTATION...if it is drifted poorly with drag or not at the proper depth (as far as nymphs), the fish wont hit it no matter how close a match you have. work on drag free drifts and pay particular attention to what depth the fish are feeding at. also watch the fish and see how they are feeding...fish hugging the bottom sometimes arent eating, and more often than not the ones you want to target are sitting higher in the current and are moving about with thier mouths opening on occasion as they take insects out of the current. ive seen alot of people fishing over fish that were not eating...which is more a less a waste of time if there are other fish about that are actually eating and not just resting or spooked and sitting on the bottom. over the years i have narrowed down the patterns i fish, as for the most part i think a generic midge imitation (like a brassie, miracle nymph, or black beauty) works 95% of the time if you fish it correctly...and in a size 18 or 20. i usually dont have to go much smaller. USUALLY i said, lol, sometimes only a size 22 works.

so as far as me dissagreeing with what anyone posted here...well i dont. you all have the right idea, it just depends on the mood of the fish that particular day, and how good your presentation is. everything you guys mentioned here is a key factor at one time or another. start with you basic rig and your favorite pattern, and just adjust from there once you determine what mood the fish are in. the biggest mistake is sticking to one type of fly and presentation, you gotta say fluid and adjust your fire when you deem neccisary.
 

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SILICONE BOY...dont always worry about an exact imitation.  as you said, the fish dont always get a chance to get a good look at what they are eating...if its the right shape and profile, and at the proper depth, thats often all you need...they will eat it sooner or later.  as far as fishing small flies, when you do and are nymphing, use a larger attractor pattern in conjunction with your small midge imitation.  my favorites are San Juan worms and scuds.  even if the fish wont eat it, it will usually get thier attention long enough for them to key in on your smaller fly that they might be feeding on at that particular time...and then boost your chances of a hook up.

TOPSLUGGER...I tend to watch fish more than i fish for them.  this way i am certain on what depth the fish are feeding at.  Dont flock shoot a group of fish (well not always, anyway, but sometimes you just have to) and target one particular fish when possible...when a hatch is happening not all of the fish are feeding at one particular depth.  i cant tell you one certain point to switch depths, you have to just see how frequent the majority (or the fish you are fishing for) are feeding at the depth you are set up for.  i tend to work the top feeders first, and as they are put down i switch to a sub surface pattern.  ive noticed alot of times fish that appear to be feeding off the top are actually taking emergers just under the surface.  when this happens i remove all split shot and just fish the fly with no indicator.  when you do this you have to watch the fish closely, and try to determine the area, (not the exact location, which is hard to do sometimes) where your fly is...set on anything fish that opens its mouth or displaces to where you think your fly is.  as far as indicators, i tend to remove it all together...and fish more by sight than anything else.  an indicator can be a useful tool also in this situation, but can spook fish if they are picky.  it just depends on how the fish are that day.  sometimes a large bushy dry fly pattern as an indicator works best in this situation...and you never know, a fish might take it.  remember, fish mostly feed subsurface, so dont always limit yourself to fishing on the top when you think they are rising to dries.
 

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This is something else people say a lot, but there are many fish I couldn't catch until I intentionally caused the current to drag my line, or dragged it myself. 
That sounds like a "swing" type drift, its pretty popular technique for fishing caddis emergers in the spring...it basically mimics a caddis pupa emerging off the bottom out of its case and rising to the top to hatch. This is why many caddis pupa imitations are tied to appear to have "gas bubbles" in them...which real pupa have as they prepare to hatch and rise to the surface to expose thier wings.

Ive only fished this technique a few times...but ive seen articles on "swing" drifts, it can be found on the internet if you search it. its basically as you stated though....dragging a fly through the water. it wont work alot of the time, but as you proved, sometimes it does... ;)
 
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