View Full Version : What's your favorite midge dryfly patterns?

David Knapp
03-02-2006, 12:28 AM
While fishing various Tennessee tailwaters, I use a lot of sub-surface midge patterns but have never tried midge emergers and dries much. The few times I've tied one on, the fish ignore it. What patterns have ya'll found useful when the fish are rising to those tiny bugs you can't see? Emergers, dries, whatever works. Perhaps more importantly, how small do you usually have to go before the fish start getting interested? Any recommendations are appreciated!!!


Hugh Hartsell
03-02-2006, 06:42 AM
:) Good morning David, I am going to link you to a couple that have been very productive all thru the Fall and Winter of this past year. I believe that you can just look at them at tie each one. They do well in sizes #22-26. Try them and see if they don't produce well for you.
Hugh Hartsell---East Tn.

03-02-2006, 06:00 PM
On the Clinch, when the olive midges are coming off, I like to use a suspender type pattern that is in Randall Kaufmann's "Tying Nymphs".

Basically you tie a strip of closed cell foam along the top on a #20 hook - leaving a small tuft at the rear and head that represent gills...tie in a gold or silver wire over a olive thread body that was used to secure the foam between the tufts, finish with a single peacock herl wrapped just behind the front tuft of foam and tie off thread...
Fairly easy tie - you can substitute a thread body for a coloring of the body section of foam with a olive waterproof marker. This will create a "lighter" body that will float higer in the column. As it stands, the fly will float horizontal, but if the fish are really taking in the film, just trim off the rear tuft foam section, powder up the top tuft with some frogs fanny and it'll float vertical.

You can pair it down and change up colors to suit the midge coming off - usually with the olive midges there's a smaller black midge in the 24's that has worked well too.

03-02-2006, 08:40 PM

Waterborn puts up some excellent advice! I haven't used the fly he mentions but I do use a technique that puts the fly in a certain part of the water column like that fly does. I will use a cdc post klinkhammer for trout taking midges just below the surface and I will grease my leader or use cdc and frogs fanny to suspend a midge pupa tied with thread and fine wire. Unless you actually see the fish taking adults off the surface then I wouldn't waste my time with midge dries. In my experience, pupae and stuggling emergers caught in the meniscus are what you want to imitate. A good dry-dropper combo would be a griffiths gnat and a zebra midge of some sort. Just remember, you don't always have to fish midges on a dead drift.

BTW, if you or anyone else find a fly that mimics a struggling midge in the meniscus then I will pay to look at it. In my opinion, that is the most difficult insect to imitate. The emerger isn't just laying still trying to break surface tension, that sucker is floppin' around! If you find that fly you will catch A LOT of fish;)!

03-02-2006, 10:55 PM
Here, Here -I second that motion ;)...

aka "Jermz"

appalachian angler
03-06-2006, 11:13 PM
Try fishing very small soft hackled wets (unweighted) is sz's 16-20. Olive thread, #20 wet or dry fly hook and a small, appropriately sized starling hackle will suffice for an olive midge emerger. Fish down and across with very short strips or: fish up, deaddrift, drop the rod tip for a spell, then slowy lift the tip back up on the final swing portion of the drift with-in 10 ft. of feeding fish; repeat. FISH ON!


03-07-2006, 01:39 AM
That is a very good technique but I had something else in mind. You are on the right track, though. It is definitely going to take motion from the angler as well as good motion from the fly. I've got some interesting things in development. I'm thinking more in the 20-26 size range for the majority of the midges we have here in East Tennessee. Have you ever seen one of these things swim? They don't look like soft hackles.

T Pat
03-25-2006, 09:13 AM
I'm like you in that I've had minimal luck with surface/dry midge patterns. However, as the other replies note, subsurface or in the film has worked fine. There are three patterns that Ihave found to be excellent. One is a gray thorax/olive abdomen/2 short flash wing thread midge, and the other 2 are diamond midges; black & silver and black & red. Sizes 18 to 22. Fished as droppers behind a small caddis or stim., I start in the film and just keep getting them a little deeper until I find the fish. Good luck.