At the Bench: CDC Midge Emergers

For fun, I again am making some small CDC midge emergers.

If you fish tailwaters, midges are ubiquitous. I’ve seen clouds of them hatching in the mornings at the Farmington, and a midge pupa is an extremely effective dropper fly for nymphing there. Midge larvae and pupae are in the drift all day.

At times, I want to throw small dries. So, I am reloading.

The trick is to be very abstemious with your thread turns and to look at times at the bottom of the fly to make sure the body looks tapered but not too thick. I’ve used thin Veevus 16/0 thread in the past, but UTC 70 denier thread can work, too. You just need to flatten the thread by spinning it counter-clockwise. A CDC loop completes the pattern and provides flotation and visibility.

Black is the norm, but I am playing around with different colors to give the trout a different look. For example, here is a size 30 CDC Midge Emerger in purple.

Materials list:

  • Hook: Gamakatsu C12-BM, size 30 (barbless, has a large eye)
  • Thread: UTC, 70 denier, in black, dark grey or purple
  • Wing: CDC in white, grey or dark dun
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10 thoughts on “At the Bench: CDC Midge Emergers

  1. Getting a good hook set must be challenging! Doing real well on the Farmy with a #18 Zebra bead head dropper and Rubber legged Stonefly on the point. Lots of Rock snot so unless you are drop shotting you will be picking snot off your point fly! Disgusting!!

    1. Getting a good hook set must be challenging!

      Yes! Thankfully, the hook has a wide gape. And, it is very thin and is barbless, and so, you do not need much movement to set the hook. And, that’s key when I’m using light tippet to fish these dries on slow water.

      Rubber legged Stonefly

      One of the best flies for the Farmy, IMO, particularly in the morning or in fast water.

  2. Its been good from Maine to CT for me. Doesn’t really sink as quickly as some of my other anchor flies which surprised me but I guess the chenille and legs add a lot of resistance.

    What midge pupa do you favor?

    1. Best one for me:

      • Thread body in olive-brown or black
      • Extra-small wire for ribbing in gold, silver or copper brown (I’ve not noticed any difference in take rates)
      • A few turns of peacock herl for the thorax/legs

      It looks like this fly except with different colors and my version has metal wire for the ribbing:

      Other people I know have had good luck with a black thread body and a tuft of Antron for wing buds, also known as Dorsey’s Top Secret Midge:

  3. I just picked up some of those teeny-weeny Gamakatsu hooks myself and had no idea what I was going to tie on them, so I was excited to come across your pattern. It looks simple enough that even I might be able to pull it off in a #30! A few weeks ago I was nymphing the Swift in the stretch below the Pipe. All of a sudden the fish started rising like crazy! It only lasted about 15 minutes, and I never did manage to get anything close to appropriate on my line and in front of the fish in that time. They were probably midges, and I bet your little fly would have gotten some attention! I also fish once a year on the Middle Provo in Utah in December, where tiny midge dries/emergers kill. Gotta try this there, too! Thanks for the post and for the awesome blog!

    1. Hi David, thanks for the kind words. The Provo is on my Bucket List.

      If you saw fish rising suddenly at the Pipe area, it might have been the “pellet hatch.” The hatchery staff feed the fish, and some of the pellets wash down. All that food coming down certainly creates a lot of commotion!

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