Chances are, if trout are feeding and there isn’t a obvious hatch going on, then bellies are filling up with midges. They may be of minor stature, but they are of major importance in river system. These guys are found everywhere, and trout are hooked on them. If you want to crush some tailwater browns on the Missouri then you better get your midge game on point.
|This guy’s about a size 22.|
Lucky for us anglers, midges are fairly simple in their construction and lots of patterns work great. There’s no need to get too fancy- a simple zebra midge will often do the trick subsurface, and a little stiff hackle and thread goes a long way for a dry. Size is the most important factor when it comes to fishing and tying midge patterns. Most naturals fall between a size 18 and size 22 hook, though extremes in both direction aren’t uncommon. That said, fishing and tying with hooks that measure in microns with 7x tippet isn’t always the easiest thing to do. When seeing your pattern is an issue, tying in a larger fly as a “sighter” between your leader and your smaller midge pattern is a great way to give your eyes a break and still match the naturals.
|More than enough materials for a midge session- thread, flash and little hooks.|
Mid-winter means increased emphasis on midge patterns on the water, and a great time to experiment with new midge patterns- both tying and fishing if you’re lucky enough to get out on the water. When selecting a midge fly to fish or tie, think correct size, silhouette, and color- in that order. When on the water, look in the slow slack water for the telltale signs of a midge hatch, and don’t be afraid to tie one of these microscopic monsters on. Full trout bellies the world over are testament enough for these year-round trout treats.
|20-inch fish on a size 20 hook? No problem.
The zebra midge flat out catches fish.