Although most anglers think of midge hatches as winter phenomena, these tiny insects hatch year-round in most places. (In fact, some stillwater anglers focus on midges almost exclusively throughout the season.) However, winter anglers love midges best because Chironomids are often the only hatches that bring fish to the surface during the coldest months, and a Griffith’s Gnat cast to sipping trout is a real treat on a frigid day. Anyone who spends a lot of time on the water from December through February will tell you that such productive hatches aren’t all that common, though, and a subsurface midge pattern will catch a lot more fish. The Mercury Midge is a great all-around pattern that works alone or as a dropper off the back of another nymph. The creation of well-known Colorado guide and angler Pat Dorsey, the Mercury Midge combines simplicity with effectiveness. It’s a great fly for beginning tiers.
In this video, Hans Stephenson of Dakota Angler in Rapid City, South Dakota, shows you how quick and easy this fly is to tie.
Hook: Standard emerger hook (here a TMC 2487), sizes 18-24.
Bead: Pearl Tyer’s Glass Bead.
Thread: Cream, 8/0 or &0 denier.
Rib: Copper or silver Ultra Wire, small.
Thorax (optional): Ice Dub or dry-fly dubbing.
Adhesive: Head cement.
Note: Tie this pattern in different color combinations to match the
midges in your streams. Copper-and olive and silver-and-black
are good choices.