Pat Dorseys Hot Fly - February 2011 - Matts Midge Adult
If you fish tailwaters on a regular basis, you’ll quickly become a midge-junkie. I must admit; I’m addicted to tying and fishing small flies, especially midges. I have several Richard Wheatley fly boxes crammed with thousands of midges displaying all facets of their lifecycle. I carry a wide array of cream, pale-olive and red larvae, an assortment of black, brown, and gray pupae, as well as a variety of emergers, trailing shuck, stuck in the shuck imitations, clusters, and adult patterns. In my opinion—an angler can never have too many midges.
February through April can provide anglers with some of the best midge fishing of the year. Dry fly enthusiasts are already starting to come out of the woodwork in search of dimpling rise forms. There is nothing more exciting, or challenging, than finding a pod of rising trout that are feeding on adult midges. Midge hatches are intensifying quickly because the days are getting longer and the water temperatures are gradually rising.
Anglers will see two sizes of midges hatching this time of year. One is what I refer to as the large “spring midge” which can be imitated with a size 18 adult. The “spring midge” produces excellent dry fly fishing for an hour or two each day. Trout eat them slowly and confidently in glassy pools and riffled currents. The second midge you’ll encounter, a smaller variety, is typically found in sizes 20-26. Opportunistic trout will eat the larvae, and feast on both pupae and adults during daily emergences. Careful observation will help you decipher which midge the fish are keying on.
Matt’s Midge is one of my favorite adult midge patterns. It was originated by my long-time friend and colleague Matt Miles. Miles is a excellent tier, guide, and one of the best dry fly anglers I have ever fished with. Matt’s Midge meets all the criteria for the ultimate guide fly—it’s easy to tie, highly visible, extremely durable, and most importantly, it consistently fools trout under a wide range of conditions.
Matt’s Midge is the perfect imitation for a newly hatched midge that is resting on water, preparing for flight. I have run across several midge-feeders that would noteat my artificial imposter unless it had a silhouette of a down-wing. Once I switched to a Matt’s Midge, I began consistently catching fish.
Matt’s Midge is also effective when trying to imitate egg layers or midges that are buzzing around the surface of the water. I have fooled countless trout on the San Juan, Green, Big Horn, Williams Fork, Blue, South Platte and Frying Pan with this fly.
Miles also developed a hi-vis variation where he swaps the white Z-lon for a piece of pink (cerise) McFlylon. The hi-vis variation is perfect for high glare situations that you’ll encounter just before dark or when you are targeting midge-feeders in scum lines.
I hope you have as much faith and confidence in this fly as I do. Included below is the tying recipe and a step-by-step tutorial on how to tie Matt’s Midge.
Matt’s Midge Recipe:
Hook: #18-24 Tiemco 101Thread: Black 8/O Uni-ThreadAbdomen: Black 8/O Uni-ThreadWing: White Z-lon (Hi-Vis use pink McFlylon)Hackle: Grizzly Rooster
- Place a Tiemco 101 into your vise. Attach the thread at the midpoint part of the hook shank. Wrap a smooth thread base to the hook bend.
- Return the thread to midpoint, wrapping the thread forward, one width at a time to create a uniform abdomen.
- Attach a piece of Z-Lon for the wing with several wraps of thread. Smooth out taper in front of wing.
- Select the proper size grizzly rooster hackle. Tie the hackle in front of the wing with four tight wraps of thread.
- Palmer the hackle forward from the base of the wing to hook eye.
- Secure the hackle with four tight wraps of thread. Clip off extra hackle as close to the stem as possible. Smooth out head and whip finish.
Mark Adams fooled this nice Arkansas River rainbow on a size 20 Matt’s Midge.