This week’s Throw Back Thursday Fly is Craig Mathew’s Zelon Midge.
I found this fly first listed in John Juracek and Craig Mathews Fishing Yellowstone Hatches (1992). I’m quite certain it’s much older than that.
The fly imitates an emerging midge caught in its shuck. Craig swears by this fly!
The image below are some midges I was able to capture last summer during our second week on the Madison River. These size 22 insects were on a rock and would run up and down until a small wave would take them away in the water.
Here is a variation Craig tied during a workshop in Bend, OR for the Winter Seminar (February 2015). The wing extended over the eye helps with visibility.
Craig discusses a different variation in a journal entry:
“A Zelon Midge is my favorite adult-crippled midge pattern. I tie it in size 20 on a TMC 2488 hook. Most importantly though, for this time of year, I use a pheasant tail micro-zelon shuck, tiger beetle zelon dubbing, and a dark dun zelon wing. This is a dead ringer for midges on all Montana and Idaho midges emerging from Feb-April.”
Lastly, watch Craig tie a hi-vis variation in this YouTube video:
These are small dry flies ranging from 18 – 24. Don’t let the size dissuade you from tying a few. They are easier than you think!
I generally stop at Blue Ribbon Flies when passing through. I encourage you to do the same.
Our friends Dick and Craig telling fish stories while fishing the Madison River.