View Full Version : Help with Tiny Midges

07-12-2009, 08:33 PM
I fished a pretty technical tailwater in Indiana this weekend. I caught fish but could have caught more had I been armed with ultra small midges. A gentlemen just up from me was wearing them out on size #28 and #30 midges. Never saw the actual pattern. I have also run into this on the Cumberland as well.

Does anyone have any patterns or info on tying these no-see-ums?


David Knapp
07-12-2009, 09:22 PM
Stripper midge is deadly in those situations assuming you are talking about a subsurface pattern... Simple thread midges are fine too and I'm a big fan of microtubing midges (http://thetroutzone.blogspot.com/2009/01/tiny-flies.html)...

07-12-2009, 09:27 PM
Like David mentioned, try a thread midge. Thread midges are easy to tie and are very effective. Take either 6/0 or 8/0 thread on your desired hook and size and make a smooth but slender body. Then wrap towards the back and spin the thread enough to create a segmented body. Wrap forward, whip finish and cement...

07-12-2009, 09:55 PM
There's not much I can do on that size hook other than a few simple patterns. I can tie a few simple larva and pupa patterns like WD-40s, Disco midges, Yong Specials, and Zebra midges. You need good light and something behind your vice will help you see better. I like hooks like the tmc 2488. The straight eye and wide gap will help increase hookups. I use 10/0 or 12/0 thread and try to make every wrap count. The new ex-small ultra wire also helps if you want to add a wire rib. Most of mine are just thread patterns. Use 2 different colors, I think segmentaion is important. Here are a few sz 28's tied on tmc 2488 hooks. You can add a small twist of dubbing or some KF for a wing, but it's hard to do much more. Most of the time a size 22-24 will work just as well. If you have never tied small flies before buy some small hooks and work your way down. It's hard to go straight from tying size 16's to 26-28's.

07-13-2009, 12:25 AM
Thanks for the replies. I have the larval stages down pretty much from the Cumberland. I was speaking more to the dries. Watching 30 or 40 fish rise all around you can be frustrating, espeacially when the fish are coming up and giving some of the best refusals I have seen. I had a pair of #26 ICSI midges that did fine until the 7X ran out. Threaded some #22 on and the nose snubbing began.


07-13-2009, 09:33 AM
2488 hook, thread body, whatever color you like, tie in a CDC oiler puff a little ways behind the eye down-wing style (like an EHC) trim the wing up and whip finish over the butt ends behind the eye (optional). make sense?

dust the fly w/ some frogs fanny and fish it dry, OR you can even fish it just below the surface on the swing.

here's an example, I'll typically make the wing a little fuller....


07-13-2009, 11:46 AM
I think it can be difficult some times to tell what stage of the insect the fish is actually taking. Fish taking pupa out of the film can look a lot like they are taking the adults. The imitation Trevor showed you will work well for fish taking pupa out of the film. The wing is just going to suspend the body in the film, not float it on the top. Try using your imitation behind a larger dry fly, small indicator, or a leader dressed with floatant down to the last foot or so. Don't put the floatant on the last foot or so of the leader, it makes it more visible. Your comment about running out of 7X makes me suspect that you may have been getting the refusals more because of micro drag that refusal of the imitation. You can have the right fly, but if it has drag, well schooled fish will refuse it. Try lengthening your tippet, that will help with micro drag sometimes. Most midges are being taken as the pupa is trying to break thru the surface film. I rarely see fish keyed in on the adult stagehttp://i5.photobucket.com/albums/y166/flyman1/buzzer.jpg

Try one with a small piece of razor foam, or one of the parasol type. Patterns like Trevor's, RS2, and WD50 are good ones to.

07-13-2009, 12:37 PM
Good advice flyman. My observation is the trout key in on the vulnerable emerger. Once that midge hatches and gets on the water, the trout is not as interested in chasing a meal that may get airborne before he can catch it. I seldom see them taking a fully hatched midge.

07-13-2009, 09:29 PM
I fished the Jackson river in Virginia many years ago on a weekly basis. At the time I fished it, the river was a midge dry fly fishing machine. One could stand in one location all day long and catch 30-40 trout. The fishing sounds much like you described where the fish would come up below the fly (less than an inch) and drift with it for many feet. The best I can remember I had a fish drift back maybe 10 feet under the fly.

The greatest accomplishment on that river for me was not the size of the fish, but getting a long inspection from a fish with a take.

One thing I took away from that experience was that a lighter fly served me well for seeing it. You had to run a long drag free drift and being able to see a size 24-26 fly was hard to do even at 20 years old. I would tie lots of size #26-30 flies on the 24 and 26 hooks sometimes size 22 also. I mostly used 24s at the time as #26s were almost impossible to find before the internet took off.

I seldom had issues from the fish if the body of the fly was close to the size of the insects hatching. I would tie with a cream or light dun hackle, matching thread, and a tail from the fibers off a larger feather. Mind you I tied adams back them by mixing grizzly and brown hackles on a #24 hook downsized to a 28. I found the cream and dun worked best and that if the fish got picky towards a certain color a brown or black sharpie generally ended my concerns.

I have a lot of fond memories of cream sized 22 and 24 midges being eaten by highly suspicious browns after long drifts back under the fly. The fish were often no more than 20 feet away in gin clear water. It was tons of fun. Hope this helps.


07-13-2009, 09:36 PM
While fishing the Clinch the past few weeks, the really small tan midges were coming off in clouds, but I was catching fish on #16 & #18 Zebras. Go figure.
Try fluoro tippet for greater stealth. Watch out for drag. It spooks them.

07-13-2009, 10:20 PM
Gonna order some micro hooks from LRO on the 15th. Drag is always a bear of a problem; I was using a 12 ft leader with another with another 3 ft of 7x. Need to figure out the gum shock butt and few other things to keep from breaking off on the hook set. Using a 6wt rod probably didn't help either. There are few fish wearing lip jewelry.


David Knapp
07-14-2009, 12:53 AM
Thanks for the replies. I have the larval stages down pretty much from the Cumberland.

Bones, I started fishing the Cumberland last fall and really liked that river. I'll be fishing it again in the colder months so if you ever want a fishing buddy up there, give me a holler...

07-14-2009, 06:09 PM
Sure would enjoy some company on the water Plateau Angler; espeacially if you have a boat. Its fishing good right now the corp is pushing 2,020 CFS most days so wade fishing is out but the fish are still eager.

David Knapp
07-15-2009, 11:38 AM
Bones, unfortunately I don't have a good fishing boat. I have a canoe which is great to get around from shoal to shoal but doesn't do real well for fishing out of... I probably won't start fishing up there until September but definitely shoot me an email or something if you'll be fishing up there during the cooler months...

07-16-2009, 09:25 AM
Bones, unfortunately I don't have a good fishing boat. I have a canoe which is great to get around from shoal to shoal but doesn't do real well for fishing out of... I probably won't start fishing up there until September but definitely shoot me an email or something if you'll be fishing up there during the cooler months...

Let me know if you would like to borrow my boat sometime and you are welcome to take whomever....As long as you try and have a good time...

07-27-2009, 02:03 PM
Hey Bones, I too fish that technical piece of water. Are there any caddis left or is it just midges? I haven't been down there in a couple of weeks. Were they coming completely out of the water? I've been there for that show a time or two and it can get pretty frustrating. Especially when I have my 11 yr old son in tow and he is trying his hand. Maybe we could hook up sometime and compare tactics.


07-27-2009, 02:53 PM
gg1262 some #16 tan caddis came of early then it poured. After the brief shower, micro midges and #24-#26 BWOs peeled off. Terribly frustrating to see 15 + inch coming out of the water on tiny bugs.

One group of folks was doing fairly using a tandem nymph rig. Nymphing just wasn't my thing there on that particular day; too much grass and rising fish put my mind on the top water bite.

07-27-2009, 04:31 PM
I was up there fishing that tailwater the other day and they were rising like crazy. Caught around fifteen in the first two hours on 7x and a #26 griffiths gnat. Then they quit rising and they shut off. Went up stream to a deep run that I know holds a big brown in it. I've caught her twice. The first time (2 years ago) she was around 18 inches. Then last fall i caught her again and she was 22 inches. This time when I saw her she looked to around 24 inches. Fished for her for around one hour and couldn't get her to eat. Tried every fly even got out of the water and backed off for a while. She wouldn't eat. I guess she wasn't hungry.

07-28-2009, 02:32 PM
Bones and 3wt:

Have you guys spent a lot of time up on the tailwater? I am curious as to what you think is going on during those times when the fish are coming completely out of the water. At times I think they are chasing caddis that are right on top of the water. Then I wander if it is some kind of emergence that they are taking. I've taken fish with an X-caddis, I've taken some with a midge emerger, but I've never felt like I KNOW what is going on. Any chance you guys would like to hook up some time and swap some knowledge?


07-28-2009, 04:34 PM
I get up there about once or twice a year. Most times there are tiny micro caddis, that may be what thay are taking. A #20-#24 griffiths gnat will work. This last time I was up they were even more selective. I had two or three #26 para cream midges and some BWOs in the same size, that were effective to a point.

Shoot me an e-mail about hooking up. Maybe we can figure them out. If you like top water Otter Creek here on post will be awesome come January.

Duckhunter 2710 @ AOL.com