The Stream Doctor

July 28th, 2003

Email YOUR Questions directly to the Stream Doctor. This is your opportunity to get an experts professional opinion on anything stream related.

Q. Question: From RADSFAM: I'm a beginning angler and I am confused about exactly what an "emerger" is and how to fish them. If you can help I would appreciate it.

A. An emerger is the term given to the stage of an aquatic insect whose larvae/pupa or nymph occurs on the bottom of streams or lakes, but when it is time to emerge as an adult, it leaves the bottom and rises through the water column to emerge as an adult on the surface. This differs from those nymphs who crawl across the bottom and climb up on vegetation or rocks above the water line to hatch.

As you can imagine, while they are drifting up through the water column, they are quite vulnerable to feeding fish and hence are popular to imitate. I'm not much on offering advice on how to fish them, but the basic idea is to put your imitation somewhere in the water column where the naturals would occur - often this is just below the water surface where they "hang up" for awhile until the adult can emerge from the immature "skin."
~ C. E. (Bert) Cushing, aka Streamdoctor
105 W. Cherokee Dr.
Estes Park, CO 80517
Phone: 970-577-1584

The 'Stream Doctor' is a retired professional stream ecologist and author, now living in the West and spending way too much time fly-fishing. You are invited to submit questions relating to anything stream related directly to him for use in this Q & A Feature at

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