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.) Winter anglers love midges best because Chironomids are often the only hatches that bring fish to the surface during the coldest months. (See yesterday’s post on winter dry flies for more.) But 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, 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 Dorseyperhaps the best known guide on the South Plattethe Mercury Midge combines simplicity with effectiveness. The fly’s effectiveness can be attributed to the glass bead, which imitates the tiny air bubble that a midge will create to help it rise from the river bottom. The Mercury Midge is a great fly for beginning tiers, unlike last week’s Copper Zebra Midge, which requires a little more finesse. In this easy-to-follow video, Tim Flagler of Tightline Productions walks you through the steps to create a nice tapered body.
Hook: Standard emerger hook (here a Dai-Riki #125), size 22.
Bead: Glass, midge size.
Thread: Cream, 70 denier or 8/0.
Rib: Copper Ultra Wire, small or extra small.
Tools: EZ Hackle Pliers, popsicle stick, dubbing wax.