View Full Version : Midges - Tippet Questions...

07-06-2010, 02:36 PM
Hey all,

I did a search on "midges" and didn't find much, so I thought I'd toss this out there.

I'm interested in fishing some midge pupae and was wondering how people have gone about using them. I'm thinking about tying maybe 2 or 3 about a foot or so apart, but I'm wondering if they should be dead-drift, or possibly rising to simulate emergence? Maybe get them on a swing like fishing a soft-hackle?

One more question on midge flies. It seems there isn't much difference between most of the midge larvae and pupae tying, except some of the pupae have the poly-pro "strings" dangling at the end. Am I missing something there?

Another question I have is regarding tippets. This past weekend was my first foray into using a 6X tippet. I caught a couple of fish, then realized I was casting a line with no fly at the end. It seemed the fly had broken off! Is it common to replace light (6, 7, or 8x) tippet after catching a fish, or did I just possibly get a knot without knowing it, which caused the tippet to break?

Thanks in advance,


p.s. If any of what I said makes absolutely no sense, it's because I'm just learning all this stuff!

07-06-2010, 04:24 PM
I use midges in a nymph setup or a dry fly/dropper setup mainly in the early spring and winter or when fishing stillwaters/tailwaters. Dead drifting the rig and then letting it swing at the end of the drift. If you see fish rising but can't see anything on the water switch to an emerger pattern. If fishing stillwaters I cast out, let the rig sink to the bottom (say 12" from the bottom) then start a real slow hand twist retrieve......be extremely slow.
There are a number of midge patterns out there, but you are correct, they all kind of look similiar, but don't let that fool you. Back in May I was fishing a two midge setup under an indicator on the Green River and hooked into 30 fish in an afternoon landing around 15, but that was mainly due to floating algae in the water. I would have a nice sized fish on and somewhere in the fight you could feel a big glob of algae hit the line, the fish would do a head shake and be gone, I would pull in the line and have a big mess of algae on the end. All those fish hit just one pattern, I kept switching out patterns on the second midge, but all the takes were on just one.
Fishing midges will require using 6x-8x tippet. It takes a little getting used to, and you will have to be careful when setting the hook by making it just a rise in the rod tip to tighten the line and then having the drag set fairly losely so as to not over tax the tippet strength.

Here is a good article on midge fishing: http://www.google.com/imgres?imgurl=http://kent-klewein.com/georgia-fly-fishing-blog/wp-content/uploads/2009/10/midge_fly_patterns.jpg&imgrefurl=http://kent-klewein.com/georgia-fly-fishing-blog/%3Fp%3D2893&usg=__0VQK6_N4iHe12ashltPUCi2Bbz4=&h=290&w=370&sz=56&hl=en&start=1&um=1&itbs=1&tbnid=0tkJxsBWv4qlwM:&tbnh=96&tbnw=122&prev=/images%3Fq%3Dmidge%2Bfly%2Bpatterns%26um%3D1%26hl% 3Den%26sa%3DX%26rlz%3D1T4GGIK_enUS286US286%26tbs%3 Disch:1

If you ever get the opportunity, do a guided trip on the San Juan River, the guides there regularly use 7x or 8x tippet and size 24-26 flies. You will be surprised at the size of fish this setup will land.


Frank Whiton
07-06-2010, 04:43 PM
Hi gusto,

In regards to your fly breaking off. When you are fishing light tippets you have to be more aware of your knots and matching your tippet size to the fly. You can't use too large of a fly with a very light tippet.

If you are getting the fly/tippet match right then it could be your knot failed, your tippet was damaged after landing a fish and you didn't check your setup, you cracked the whip and snapped the fly off on a false cast. You can solve all these problems being more cautious about your knots and checking your leader and tippet after every fish. Remember that the smaller tippets do not have a very high strength and any abnormality will cause a failure. With this type of fishing you should make your pickup, a back cast and then delivery. False casting will cause all kinds of problems.


07-06-2010, 06:44 PM
If you ever get the opportunity, do a guided trip on the San Juan River, the guides there regularly use 7x or 8x tippet and size 24-26 flies. You will be surprised at the size of fish this setup will land.


We were catching fish on size 32 spinners on the Elk when I was in West Virginia. I broke that 8x a couple of times because I don't usually use 8x in Oklahoma, forgot it is more fragile.

07-06-2010, 07:42 PM
Thanks for the link and suggestions/advice. I definitely have to work on NOT false-casting. I kind of get into a rhythm of false casting twice, followed by presentation. I hadn't realized the 6x and 7x tippet were so fragile until I found an unintentional knot towards the end of the tippet. I had planned on cutting the tippet anyway, so just to see what happened I pulled the knot tight and "SNAP!" The tippet broke. I couldn't believe it. I'll be sure to check the tippet more often next time.

Thanks again,


07-06-2010, 10:05 PM
Gusto: I don't like overhead casting a multi-fly rig, it is just too easy to get wind knots. Instead if on moving water I let a little line out and let the current take it down stream, then I lift the rod a little and let the stream load the rod tip then all I do is flip the line upstream and now I'm ready for the next down stream drift, the other method is to do a roll cast. If I have lots of room behind me I sometimes just lift the entire rig so it is on top and then flip it behind me, once it hits the water I flip it back in front for the next drift, never false casting. Some people like to just open the loop way up, but for me I still can get wind knots so have given up on that.

jcw355: I know people use small stuff like that but 8x and size 32 flies are just crazy.:D Besides they are just too small for my aging eye sight! Joni is pretty successful at it but she is way younger than I am.


07-08-2010, 09:14 PM
Just wanted to follow up on something interesting I read in the book Handbook of Hatches. The author has a pattern he calls the "Cluster Midge," which is basically a standard Adams, but instead of just the grey dubbing body, he palmers another grizzly hackle over the dubbing. He wrote he's had good luck fishing it when trout are feeding on adults that tend to hover in small pods over the water, and the fly is supposed to represent a cluster within that pod on or close to the surface. (This with the idea that fish will focus on groups of midges verses a single adult because of their size).

I thought it was kind of interesting because clusters of midges are the only thing my highly untrained eye has seen on the surface of the water while fishing, and each time I've fished a standard Adams I've had good success, so I'm curious to see what happens with the palmered body.

I'm going to give it a try this weekend if I see some midges hovering around the surface.


07-09-2010, 09:39 AM
Sounds like a Griffith's Gnat, one of the most popular "midge cluster" patterns.


07-09-2010, 11:22 AM
Midges are present year round on the trout's menu. Trout also tend to believe that small is safe. Both are good reasons to fish'em.
This last winter I was the president, and sole member of the Truckee river midge club.
Large fish in shallow water, eating minutia, kept a warm feeling in my heart, even if my feet were blocks of ice. I like them served dry, in the film, and anywhere else in the water column. I tye them in red, black, cream, green, and white for subsurface (22-28).
The Griffiths pattern is a standard dry pattern, but works well drowned too.
I usually fish something large above it to help close the sale.
A delayed set is preffered, to prevent flossing them. Like they say in NZ. "God save the queen". Then slowly lift, and hope.


07-09-2010, 12:07 PM
So how do you guys see those Griffiths kants on the water. Same for those small ants?

07-09-2010, 09:49 PM
Don't get to far away. I think there might be a high vis griffiths knat made by somebody. Fish from downstrean to upstream if possible to get closer to fish and be able to see your fly.

07-10-2010, 02:09 PM
When I use a small Griffets #20 to #22 I will put an attractor ahead of it or even a Caddis. Watch the bigger fly move. Mid summer even a Hopper will work as the indicator. I sink the Griffets most of the time like a single midge.

And this is why we fish doubles.. the combination possibilities will make the hours fly by.

Good luck...


PS.. Mcnerney's post about the San Juan is spot on. If you have a chance fishing small #22's and catching 21" trout will increase your confidence many fold... They used to allow up to 21 hooks per line. Thank god the NM Guides and DNR changed that. I believe the rule now is only two in NM.

07-10-2010, 07:30 PM
Don't get to far away. I think there might be a high vis griffiths knat made by somebody. Fish from downstrean to upstream if possible to get closer to fish and be able to see your fly.

I have some Griffith's Gnats that are high-viz, they have a fluorescent hot pink post sticking up in the middle.


They're pretty easy to see.