View Full Version : Midge Patterns?

01-11-2006, 01:28 PM
I was wondering if many of you tie midge patterns for the winters in the Smokies and what type of patterns you use? I noticed several very small (maybe size 26 or smaller) cream and olive midges in the air this last weekend. I tie a few basic patterns like a griffith's gnat, stillborn midge, A.K. midge emergers and several colors of thread midge pupa and larva. From what I can tell, midge fishing is probably a little bit of overkill for fishing in the small streams up there as the fish seem to hit size 12 hare's ears with reckless abandon, but I get some enjoyment out of catching fish on what I see in the air and on the water around the streams. The problem is that I couldn't get a single fish to look at any of my midge patterns even with all the bugs in the air. I think my flies may have been a bit too large. I used down to a size 24 with no luck. So far, that's as small as I tie. Also, a midge might not be a big enough bite to justify moving to eat one this time of year. I tried them mostly in the long, slow moving pools. Just wondering if anyone else has had any luck with midge patterns or had any advice on patterns to tie for either the Smokies or the area tailwaters,


01-11-2006, 04:41 PM
Very good question Hawgdaddy! I would love to know the answer to this myself...

Byron Begley
01-13-2006, 01:37 PM
I keep a box of midge dry flies in my vest but hardly use them unless I see a lot of midges and fish rising to them. I'm talking to a lot of people who are dropping some tiny pheasant tails and other small nymphs either behind a larger dry fly or a nymph and doing well. I think they are doing that more due to the colder clearer water. Byron

01-13-2006, 04:15 PM
I don't use them much in the Smokies, but when I do, it is usually in the winter time when I'm on Abrams...a little black bead head grey zebra about a 22 and it has picked up a few nice fish as a dropper to a small PT or SMBBSH (a Hugh Harstsell speacial). I've noticed in some throat samples small midges and even blackfly larvae so it'll cover both bases.


01-16-2006, 07:07 PM
If you enjoy midge fishing, we got the "Buzz" on them Saturday at the tying demo from Buz Buffington. *On the Clinch, use 18-24 size zebras or other ones which are darker and similar. *Olive colors are good most of the year also. *Cream colors are good during late summer. *As far as the Park goes, if they are hitting a 12 hare's ear with "reckless abandon" I'm fishing a 12 hare's ear.

David Knapp
01-16-2006, 10:16 PM
I'll third the suggestion on the Zebra midges. They are awesome on the tailwaters dropped behind a dry and I've caught fish in the Smokies on them also. I started fishing them this year and now hardly use anything else on at least 1 tailwater I fish. The only downside is the light tippet you usually need :( In the Smokies, they seem particularly useful in some of the SLOW pools in fall when the water is low. I drop it off of a small dry, such as a bwo parachute or sparkle dun). Great little flies... 8-)

David Knapp

02-16-2006, 10:15 AM
I have only tried midges a few times in the park when they were in the air and I was sure the fish were eating them instead of something else. The fish in the park are opportunistic, they will eat what ever is available.
One January about 3 years ago I was fishing the Y and could see a couple of 16"s sitting on the bottom at what looked like 20 ft. To complicate things there was ice junks the size of a small car floating downstream. The temp was in low teens and I could not keep my line from icing up. I was not able to cast in the true sense of the word so ended up pinching on some lead and basically slinging my line upstream and floating it down to the fish. After about an hour I finally got the nymph deep enough to bump the nose of the fish and saw it open it's mouth. Gently set the extra sharp hook and hauled her in. The fly was a (not again) Georges Nymph no. 12. Sometimes if not more often in the park, a fish will hit a fly that is a little bigger or smaller or somehow different than the hatch. I don't know why but it works for me. One more tip, learn to sharpen your hooks. They are pretty sharp when new but can be sharper. It makes all the difference when the fish are hitting light. Keep it sharp by touching it up ever so often while fishing it. Especially if fishing the bottom, and you will land more fish.