TL;DR: Small midges are some of the best flies. Where to buy them. Photos of some favorites.
If you fish tailwaters, you know that midges are a huge part of a trout’s diet. Many of my best Farmington River and Swift River flies are midges (links here and here). They’re not the only way to catch. But, I find that they consistently produce.
When nymphing, I like starting with size 20 midges. Here is a favorite.
If the fish aren’t taking them, I go down in size, all the way to a size 28. When throwing midge dries at slow spots, I have a bunch of CDC Midge Emergers in sizes 28 and 30.
There are problems galore, however, with fishing really small midges. You have to:
- Find them or make them
- Thread tippet through a small eye
- Try to see takes when they’re on the water
Item #3 can be solved pretty easily: You can pair small midges with a dry and do the dry-dropper. Or, in faster and deeper water, you can nymph them with a larger anchor fly.
Item #2 is tough but doable. You really need the Gamakatsu C-12BM hook. It features a “big eye” hook and is barbless, too, which makes for very easy hooksets and removals.
Item #1 requires investing in fly-tying equipment and patience or finding someone who will sell such flies to you. Before I started tying flies, I couldn’t find the extra-small midges I wanted.
Well, the good news is that I found a vendor that sells midge nymphs in sizes 26 and 28 for about $1.50 each–and, on the Gamakatsu hooks. I don’t know the supplier and cannot vouch for them. But, check out SanJuanRiver.com’s Micro Midges.
If you know of any other suppliers, please add a comment below. I am sure your fellow angler would love to know.
Midges really are some of the best flies for the Farmington and Swift. As they say, elephants eat peanuts.
Orvis has a great post and video on how to work with small hooks. Link here, FYI.