The Makeshift Midge - By Steve Robbins
The Makeshift Midge
By Steve Robbins
One January morning a few years ago, I was fishing the Lower MT. Fork River at Beaver’s Bend State Park in Oklahoma. It was a frigid 18 degrees that morning. It was one of those mornings where you had to frequently break the ice from your guides so the fly line would pass through. I was wearing some fleece fingerless gloves but my fingers were still numbing cold. So what the heck was I thinking? I usually like this type of fishing condition because you’ve got most of the river to your self.
Anyway… I caught a few rainbows on nymphs until a morning midge hatch started coming off. It was a tremendous hatch. Trout were rising everywhere. They were taking tiny midges off the surface. I scooped up a midge to determine the color and size. It was cream and about a size 26. As fumbled through my fly boxes I thought I was out of luck until I found one cream midge size 26. It was the only one that I had. I’m usually more prepared than that but such is life.
My fingers had lost all dexterity due to the cold. As I awkwardly tied on the midge I accidentally got it caught in one of my fleece gloves. It was sure nuff’ stuck. By the time I got the fly freed from my glove, with my thick and stiff fingers, all of the material had torn off. So… there I was with a bare with no other flies to match. As I stood in the middle of that rise with my mind racing as to what I could do, I came up with a wild idea that might just work. Like most fly vests, mine has a wool patch above the upper-front pocket. It was a little creamish in color. So I pinched off several strands and twisted on the hook. I had no means of permanently securing it to the hook so I just twisted it real hard around the hook shank. I cast out the first time… nothing happened. I thought perhaps it was too big… too much material maybe. This time, I pulled off only a few strands of wool and twisted it on real well. I cast it out… and boom... a nice rainbow attacked it. I got it in and safely released it. The wool was gone, of course, so I twisted a few more strands on and continued to work the hatch. I made many drifts during that hatch. The wool would only stay on for one drift so I had to replace it after each pass. I caught about six fish or so with that method before the hatch dissipated.
So, that’s my true story of the makeshift midge. This goes to show that creativity and innovation could possibly save your next fishing trip.