Fishing with Rod Discussion Forum

Fishing in British Columbia => Fly Fishing Cafe => Topic started by: RalphH on June 04, 2020, 12:09:38 PM

Title: What's in my fly box 3 - Midge patterns
Post by: RalphH on June 04, 2020, 12:09:38 PM
Midges

If you fly fish a lot there will come a day when you find the surface of the water is littered with tiny winged critters and the trout will be gorging on them. Most often referred to as midges, they are part of the insect order diptera which includes the chironomids. If you donít have something equally tiny to match you will be skunked!

Midges are small, sometimes virtually invisible. Generally anything from a size 16 or 18 to the smallest fly hooks available are used. In BC I have done fine with #16 to #20. I have seen and or fished midges on interior stillwaters, the Skagit and the Fraser River between Chilliwack and Hope. They are one of the few insect hatches you might encounter in winter along with baetis mayflies and certain species of small or very small stoneflies.

Pattern isnít that important but size is! Fortunately as weíll see, the mating habits of the midge also helps reduce the need for the tiniest sizes. Below are two simple patterns I have found successful:

Midge Pupae:

(https://i.imgur.com/dNzp2Yd.jpg)

Hook: dry fly (Tiemco 100)  #16 to 20
Thread: 8/0 to match the body
Tail: a few fibres of synthetic yarn such as polypropylene, antron etc
Body: fine dubbing to match the natural (tan, apple green, black or dark grey covers most hatches IME)
Wing: Rolled mallard flank dyed wood duck.
Hackle: brown, dark blue dun or grizzly to match the natural. You may clip it top and bottom

This is a fairly simple pattern to tie. Some interior lakes, McConnell and Corbett will sometimes have hatches of midges and trout will sometimes take them off the surface. Usually this happens mid-morning on cool damp days either in spring or fall. Often the bugs will seem to skitter along the surface perhaps pushed by a breeze. I have used this pattern in the Fraser Valley both in local lakes and streams. It floats well if floatant is applied.

Griffith Gnat:

(https://i.imgur.com/Qz19kjQ.jpg)

Hook: dry #16 to #22
Thread: Black 8/0
Body: peacock herl
Hackle: grizzly. Genetic saddle if you can get and afford it.

Pretty simple and the best all round midge pattern you can have in your fly box particularly for tiny stuff. Best yet midges often form mating clusters or balls on the water that attract trout, the larger size 16s seem to imitate these..

Tying tips. After covering the shank with thread tie in 1 to 3 strands of herl, then the hackle. Wind the thread back to herl and use your thumb and forefinger to twist the herl around the thread. Hang on to the twisted herl section. Take a turn behind the hackle then wrap forward. You may need to apply a bit of extra twist as you do. Tie it off near the eye then wrap the hackle forward.

The Griffith Gnat seems to suggest a variety of small bugs. Any time trout are gently sipping something you canít see from the surface give this a try.

I recently found a photo of trout in my files captioned ďA cutthroat taken on #16 Griffith gnat during a February Tiny Black stonefly hatch"

(https://i.imgur.com/cKSklrp.jpg)


Title: Re: What's in my fly box 3 - Midge patterns
Post by: RalphH on June 06, 2020, 09:58:34 PM
TTT
Title: Re: What's in my fly box 3 - Midge patterns
Post by: bigsnag on June 11, 2020, 09:59:34 PM
I have never caught a fish with the Griffith Gnat under the condition you described, Any time trout are gently sipping something you canít see from the surface i have never caught a fish with it period.
The fly seems perfect and reasonable under those conditions.  Therefore it has to be my techniques.
In lakes I use a floating line, 9 ft leader taper to 2X, plus 5-6' of 5x tippet and cast it to risers. No floatants added. I only have size #12s in my box.
What am I doing wrong?
Title: Re: What's in my fly box 3 - Midge patterns
Post by: RalphH on June 12, 2020, 09:26:39 AM
A couple of things to think about next time.

The most important aspects of matching fly pattern to the hatch are, in descending order of importance:

- size

- shape

- color

Was the #12 fly too big? The Griffith Gnat is really meant to be tied on #16 hooks or smaller! I've never needed to go smaller than a #18 but one day I may have to!

Did you read the rises correctly? This is tough particularly if you can't see the bug on the water. I would wonder if the rises were trout taking pupae suspended in the surface?

Generally I have found that if there is a good rise and you don't hook a fish after presenting your fly to a few rising fish, it's time to try something else - change the fly. Go with a smaller pattern or fish a small unweighted chironomid old school on a greased leader kept reasonably tight to the rod - i.e. little or no slack.
Title: Re: What's in my fly box 3 - Midge patterns
Post by: bigsnag on June 13, 2020, 10:14:03 PM
thanks, do you use 1 or 3 strands of herl for the body on a #16
Title: Re: What's in my fly box 3 - Midge patterns
Post by: RalphH on June 14, 2020, 08:27:49 AM
the less the better.
Title: Re: What's in my fly box 3 - Midge patterns
Post by: bigsnag on June 16, 2020, 11:49:33 PM
Darn! Not trying to trick you RalphH. I checked, it turns out the Griffiths in my box are all #16 s, not 12s. Probably tied 20 years ago, which tells you how often I use them. I will give it another go.
Judging by the amount of wraps of hackle in the pictured fly, do you need floatant at all on this?
Title: Re: What's in my fly box 3 - Midge patterns
Post by: RalphH on June 17, 2020, 06:25:15 PM
I put that stuff on all my floating patterns except for those tied with CDC.