I am always excited to test new flies on rising fish. So it was great to have some extra motivation to tie and to test. For this challenge I tested a handful of patterns that ranged from complex to very simple. Although some of the more complicated patterns caught an occasional fish, the simple pattern fished best. The key to tying this Hanging midge is to use light weight thread and minimal wraps to secure each material so that the final result remains slim like the naturals. The micro chenille is singed with a lighter to make it slimmer and the tail can be burned a little extra to give taper. When fishing, the fly should hang vertically in the film, so leave the body floatant free. I found this fly to fish well to rising fish in edges, pools, and tailouts. Fishing light tippets is also a must.
I try to put a lot of realism into my flies, especially in the form of shape. I think this fly fools some fish because the shape is similar to natural midge pupa. I feel grey or black are the best colors, but I might just I carry it in a variety of colors from now on. If fish are especially picky, trimming the CDC can help but makes the fly less visible to the angler. Nonetheless, I'll have to wait and see what the coffee crew thinks.
Name: Hanging midge
Hook: Tiemco 2487/2488 size 26
Thread: Sheer 14/0 (grey/black)
Body: Micro chenille (grey /black)
Thorax: 50:50 mix superfine:ice dubings (black)
Wing: 2 small CDC feathers (natural dun)
The Mother-Shucker is a fly that has proven itself to catch fish. It is a simple fly that is easy to see, floats well, and for many of our customers it is the only midge dry they think can catch fish. This single-minded view was where I drew my inspiration to come up with a fly equal to or better than the mother-shucker. Nothing gets me more fired up as a tier and fishermen than when someone claims that one fly is the “best” and “nothing comes close” to being as successful. I use a slew of midge patterns for this time of year, and I have consistent success with them year after year. The mother-shucker, however, is not among these flies I use.
That being said, these two flies I came up with were based on my observations of Provo fish preferring bugs in and below the film. I added a spun shuck of olive-brown antron yarn to represent the pupal casings of our midges, and added a collar of starling hackle for subtle motion and crumpled legs. To top it off, I pulled a wing-case of light gray CDC over the thorax on one fly, and electrical packaging foam for the wing case on the other. Both of these materials have good floating properties; they are not bulky, they are easy to put on small hooks, and both materials have translucent characteristics representative of the midge wing.
Both of these flies fooled a lot of picky fish on their maiden voyage, and have continued to fool fish for me this winter. Being that these flies are small and low-profile they are not the easiest bugs to see. To combat this, I trail these flies 16”-20” behind a #16-#20 cluster pattern (i.e. Griffiths Gnat, Orange Asher, etc.) and always present these flies first with a dead drift. If the fish didn’t take either pattern on a dead drift, I pulled the emerger under the surface, and slightly twitched both the cluster and the emerger. Doing this with both flies led to some exciting and fun results when the fish did not take these flies on a dead drift.
The emergers I tied caught fish, and a lot of them! They are not complicated, they are fairly easy to tie, and totally based on my observations in the field. I am confident in their capabilities to fool some of our most discerning fish, and I feel that they are equal to, and under certain circumstances, better than the mother shucker. The Usurper Emerger is here to stay.
How it came to be: The midges on our Utah waters seem to be getting smaller and smaller and it’s become a challenge to find patterns that will consistently work on our winter midge hatches. Steve Schmidt has challenged the Western Rivers staff to come up with some patterns that have less foam in them and more natural material to imitate Utah’s tiny winter midges that would fool the very “snobby” trout we’re being snubbed by on Utah’s winter tailwaters lately. Schmidt was tying flies for the “Coffee Crew”, since they’ll be jury and judge of these patterns and I had an idea based on flies that have worked well for me in the past particularly in difficult situations, similar to those I’ve had success with on the spring creeks in Idaho, Montana and some very picky trout back east. All of those flies were simple, sparse, and low hanging.
Why it works: The body of this Nunya hangs low in the film and is very sparsely tied to resemble the slimmest of profile of an emerging midge. Now that we’re a few weeks into this challenge the Coffee Crew has given it thumbs up. As other patterns come in from the rest of the staff we’ll see how it stacks up. I’ve included the patterns, so if you tie, twist a few up and see what you think, and chime in on your thoughts.
Hook: Tiemco 2488 #26
Body: Gordon Griffith Sheer Ultrafine Thread Black 14/0
Wing and Thorax: Nature’s Spirit Cul De Canard Tufts in colour Natural Mallard Shuck: 3 strands Hareline Dubbin Para Post in colour light gray
Step by Step Instructions: