Finally the weather has changed and it’s actually November, not October 42, 43, or 44th. October weather continued into early November and I decided it was still October; hence the reasoning for changing my October calendar to include dates of 42, 43, and 44. There was even a smattering of snow last Saturday when I got up. It’s finally time for small flies to imitate the bugs hatching on the river. Fall is definitely over.
In fact, snow is forecast for later this week!
#24 Midge Patterns
Half dozen flies on a penny
If you aren’t familiar with Tightline Productions, be sure to check them out on Youtube. My favorite fly tying videos on Youtube are from Tightline Productions, Davie McPhail, and the old videos from Shane Stalcup provided by Netknots.
For many years, I shied away from tying smaller flies, but the more flies I tie, it seems like size 20 flies are no big deal. My wife heard me years ago say “If I need flies size 20 and smaller, I’ll buy them!” I recall being very adamant with that statement. Well, that has changed.
So after watching the videos from Tightline Productions and knowing November weather is really here, I decided to tie up a couple of their midge patterns. I looked at my hook supply and found a box of #24. I was up for the challenge!
Here is a #24 Matt’s Midge.
And the #24 Peg’s Midge.
The secret to tying small flies is to start with a hook size you are comfortable with and tie up 1/2 dozen or even a dozen of them to get into the right rhythm and proportions and then go progressively smaller with your hooks.
The other secret is most small flies use very few materials. In fact, many midge patterns use thread for the body. How simple is that?
And speaking of thread, pick up a spool smaller than the 8/0 you probably have on the tying desk. You’ll be amazed how strong Veevus 12/0 or even 16/0 thread is. Smaller diameter thread will not build up bulk on those small flies.
Another trick is to find a hook that uses an oversized eye so you can actually thread tippet materials through the eye! You might give the Daiichi 1100 down-eye hook a try. Besides it’s oversized eye, the hook utilizes a wide gape as well to help with extra hooking power for sizes 16 – 24.
But I would be remiss if I didn’t say how effective the Improved Sparkle Dun BWO fly has been in sizes 18 – 20.
I started filling the provider box this week with these Improved Sparkle Duns.
Here is another variation utilizing CDC for the wing rather than deer hair.
For more information about midges in general and other effective fly patterns, here is a link to my Midges post.
For more information about these mayflies, be sure to read my Blue Wing Olives post.
I hope you have a Happy Thanksgiving!