Fly of the Month


 Midge Emerger




It’s the dead of winter and time to break out your fly rod. If you don’t believe me, drive up Highway395 and check all of the folks out there, including your fellow club members, fishing the lower Owens. I am not talking about dredging the depths with a streamer or a Woolly Bugger—no, I’m talking about top water or near top water activity. I am talking about midge hatches.


Midges hatch from lakes and streams throughout the year but tend to be more important to your fishing success in the winter and early spring when other insects are much less active and therefore unavailable to hungry fish. This stems from the fact that few other insects are insane enough to come out when it is that cold and fish still have to eat something. Now you will find a few of those crazy Blue-Wing Olives out and about at this time of year but, by and large, it’s the midges that are the most consistently available food source.


This month’s pattern is best fished dead drift with an indicator or as the lead fly in a tandem set up with a Griffith’s Gnat, a very small Elk Hair Caddis or a Hank of Hair as the dropper. This pattern with the pink body and copper rib has worked well on Lake Crowley, the Owens River, the Green River, and the Colorado River at Lee’s Ferry. There are other color combinations like lime green & gold, pale olive & gold, black &gold, red & gold, pearl & copper that work very well and I would suggest having a few of them with you.


Now, all you have to do is stay warm.


Materials for tying the Midge Emerger:


Hook:          Caddis/midge type; Tiemco 2487 #16-20 or similar

Thread:          Primrose 8/0

Wing:     Light dun cul du cunard (CDC)

Body:          Krystal Flash ribbed with wire, good color combos are: pink/copper, lime green/gold pale olive/gold, red/gold, pearl/copper

Thorax:          Peacock herl

Gils:       Light dun cul du cunard (CDC)


Instructions for tying the Midge Emerger:

1.   Attach the thread and wind down to about the middle part of the bend and tie in the wire. Wind the thread back to the thorax, tie in the Krystal Flash and wrap down to where the rib was tied in and back and tie off.

2.   Reverse wind the rib to the thorax and tie off.

3.   Measure and tie in the CDC wing but do NOT trim off the butts. The wing should be half the length of the body

4.   Tie in the peacock herl for the thorax, wind to the headspace and tie off.

5.   Wind a small head underneath the butt ends of the wing and whip finish.

6. Trim the butt ends of the CDC which becomes gills to the length shown in the drawing.


Black Midge



Pink Midge

Pink Midge


December 2008