April 22, 2009
midge love: amazon zebra style
There are two times of year here in Northern Minnesota where I find fishing midge patterns very effective, early spring and early fall. Fishing any dark nymph proves productive during the late winter months when there is still snow on the ground and a chance at a micro stone hatch. Even nymphing a caddis pupae imitation can bring fish to hand. But once the snow is gone and the river is high, there is not much going on hatch-wise in that turbid water. When those spring flows break off in to flood prone areas and the flood plain, this is the perfect opportunity for midge hatches. Often coming several weeks before any significant caddis hatch occurs, fishing a midge pattern this time of year can save the day.
I was introduced to a very simple pattern by another angler from the Carp Anglers Group forums last spring. Whether or not the fly was patterned after a midge is uncertain, but the unnamed fly resembled a midge to me, so it stuck. The fly basically consists of a white thread or antron yarn body, palmered grizzly hackle, and bead chain eyes. Simple.
I monkeyed with a dubbing blend to see if I could recreate a similar looking pattern without having to add hackle. Simply a dubbed body, wire rib and bead chain eyes. Easy.
The midges of spring are of normal proportion. Come fall, giant monster midges emerge the size of a condor. Well maybe not that big, but definitely in the size 10 range. Other patterns can be effective during this time period, but the fish seem to key in on this prolific meaty meal. Whether or not these fish remember those amazon midges in the spring run, or are simply looking for an abundant high protein snack before spawn, I fish them anyway. It works.
Get to da choppa'; we're going on a brown water expedition.