TL;DR: Syl’s Midge is a go-to wet fly when trout are active but picky. One of my favorites.
I first read about this pattern in David Hughes’ book, Handbook of Hatches: A Basic Guide to the Food Trout Eat and the Most Effective Flies to Match them. He rapturously writes about how incredibly effective it has been for him.
His intro to the fly was when he fished next to Sylvester Nemes himself, who was crushing it with the Syl’s Midge.
So, I tied a few and fished it a couple of times. They worked like crazy. I always have some in my fly box.
This fly is now one of my most effective wet flies, along with my CDC Soft Hackle in olive-brown. I fish it as a dropper on a nymph rig or as a trailing fly behind a white streamer. That is a particularly good combination: a large and bright fly coupled with a small and subtle one.
I really like flies that are easy to make and work well. Here is the materials list:
- Hook: scud or nymph hook, sizes 16 to 20
- Body: peacock herl, counter-wrapped with tippet for durability
- Wing: hackle, Hungarian Partridge
- Thread: UTC, 70 denier, black