Midge Cluster Mysticism

A place to discuss the collecting and tying of classic flies, the tyers who made them famous, the tools, materials and techniques they used as well as the waters they were designed for. While classic is generally used to describe old things, classic is also used in the sense of first class or in the highest form. Therefore a fully dressed Salmon Fly, or a Carrie Stevens Streamer are just as much classics as a Chernobyl Ant would be. Enjoy the forum.

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snorider
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Midge Cluster Mysticism

#1

Post by snorider »

Midge Clusters were parading like miniature sleestack pylons down my little creeks the last three days. Big trout were crushing the piles of protein in slick water below the riffles. And there was I working thru Dozens of fly patterns from the vanishingly small to #14 Adams and drifting them perfectly over fish with nary a nibble. One or two daft rainbows did eat a crackle back loaded with hitchhikers but the frustration was building. Then I recalled the advice of a big horn guide. A blue gray dun! I dug out a grey biot body grizzly hackle cdc post para fly I had cooked up this winter and it was like magic. Anybody else have a fly pattern you use for this type of situation.
Leave it as it is. The ages have been at work on it and man can only mar it. T.R.

PYochim
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Re: Midge Cluster Mysticism

#2

Post by PYochim »

I put a size 18 Zebra Midge on a short (14") dropper below the dry.

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Norm Frechette
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Re: Midge Cluster Mysticism

#3

Post by Norm Frechette »

its rumored that a griffiths gnat represents a midge cluster

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Hellmtflies
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Re: Midge Cluster Mysticism

#4

Post by Hellmtflies »

Go to the "Double Ugly" !

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Re: Midge Cluster Mysticism

#5

Post by joaniebo »

Norm Frechette wrote:its rumored that a griffiths gnat represents a midge cluster
That's what I always thought.

snorider
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Re: Midge Cluster Mysticism

#6

Post by snorider »

Paul the @ 10.5 trillion midges on the water made all my attempts at midge mimicry, be it a zebra, lazer or other midge pattern futile. Norm I thought the same thing but apparently no one told the fish. Griffiths gnats sizes 18-26 got an F- And the #14 and #16 double ugly failed as well Mark. I did catch a couple slow learners on a crackle back #16, which had become a party pad for midges by the time it made it nearly to my feet. I will say I am really a up to speed tying the improved cinch knot after tying it 50 flip snapping times.

I stopped at the fly shop after work yesterday to buy grey biots. It was very similar to the drug deals I saw on eighties TV shows. Some shaggy white dude with a beard opened the door a crack and took my cash, in a few minutes he came out with a baggie :lol

When he asked me about my tying I told him the story. He said he does the same kind of thing "When they are eating clusters go "Big" and go "Grey"" (there is a fat old fisherman joke in there somewhere) His solution was a grey wulff or a H&L variant all grey with black thread. Go figure. It will probably be 5 years before this happens again, but I will be toting some big grey mayflies from now on...
Leave it as it is. The ages have been at work on it and man can only mar it. T.R.

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Adamsdry
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Re: Midge Cluster Mysticism

#7

Post by Adamsdry »

Griffiths Gnat hands down.
Skitter it along the foam lines and in eddies.

D
"By the wood-shed is a brook. It goes singing on. Its joy-song does sing in my heart.”

Opal Whiteley

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Eric Peper
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Re: Midge Cluster Mysticism

#8

Post by Eric Peper »

Years back the "plat du jour" for midge clumps on the San Juan was a #16 with a hunk of black "package wrap yarn" trimmed to form a semi circular clump atop the hook, with a parachute wrapped black hackle below. It worked obscenely well.

EP
A mountain is a fact -- a trout is a moment of beauty known only to men who seek them
Al McClane in his Introduction to The Practical Fly Fisherman . . . often erroneously attributed to Arnold Gingrich

snorider
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Re: Midge Cluster Mysticism

#9

Post by snorider »

Eric, That sounds interesting, what exactly is package wrap yarn? So you tied the yarn in as a post and then wrapped a black hackle on it? Thanks.

D, I skated, drifted, popped, stripped and twitched 5 different sizes of G-gnat and I actually threw the last one, a size #26, in the willows cause I could not even see that dang fly. Still feel a bit bad about wasting a fly.
Leave it as it is. The ages have been at work on it and man can only mar it. T.R.

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ffftroutbum
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Re: Midge Cluster Mysticism

#10

Post by ffftroutbum »

Griffith’s gnats with a black or white poly wing (down wing like a caddis - the wing helps you see it) can be effective for such a situation. Heck, they also work well for a trico cluster too. One time on the Henry’s Fork, I was fishing a heavy trico hatch with one of my especially crusty friends. I handed him a #16 g gnat with a white wing to try. He indicated that it would never work over these fish. He humored me and tried it. A few minutes later he was into nice fish and has been a believer ever since. If the hatch is heavy enough, fish may often take more than one insect.

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Eric Peper
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Re: Midge Cluster Mysticism

#11

Post by Eric Peper »

snorider wrote:Eric, That sounds interesting, what exactly is package wrap yarn? So you tied the yarn in as a post and then wrapped a black hackle on it? Thanks.
I didn't know what else to call it! It's that thick (about 1/4 inch) and soft yarn -- generally seen in red and generally on Christmas packages. When you tie it in as a post and then clip it short it forms a perfect semicircle atop the hook. I haven't tied seriously in a couple years (cancer dampens your enthusiasm!), so I don't know where my stash is or I'd send you some.

Eric
A mountain is a fact -- a trout is a moment of beauty known only to men who seek them
Al McClane in his Introduction to The Practical Fly Fisherman . . . often erroneously attributed to Arnold Gingrich

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Hellmtflies
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Re: Midge Cluster Mysticism

#12

Post by Hellmtflies »

[quote="snorider"]
Griffiths gnats sizes 18-26 got an F- And the #14 and #16 double ugly failed as well Mark.


"OK" Just so we are talking about the same fly. My version of the "Double Ugly" is a #20 or #22 Fore and Aft with grizzly hackle and a dark olive thread center. I do tie some with a touch of light dun tails but most are simply without a tail. Now the other fly that will kill for you is one of Charles Cotton's originals. In 1676 he tied a #16 "Plain Hackle" (Palmer) the pattern goes like so;

Thread - black
Body - black spaniel's fur or black ostrich. I like the ostrich best
Hackle - red capon

That's it. Try these on a #18 or 20 hook. These should solve your issue. Incidentally, you can see the pattern in Andrew Marskhall's book "The History and Evolution of the Trout Fly". Published by Reel Lines Press in 2013. Page #160.
Mark
Last edited by Hellmtflies on 03/27/20 09:54, edited 1 time in total.

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CDCdun
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Re: Midge Cluster Mysticism

#13

Post by CDCdun »

Good advice on the grey colored fly. It’s frustrating when trout are gorging on clusters and yours don’t work! Still...what a fun situation to find yourself in. A standard griffiths gnat has failed me more often than not. Marks little double ugly sounds good, and with the olive thread would work well for tricos too I bet. I also like a small and simple parachute fly. Black thread body, white CDC post tied short and mid shank with an appropriately sized grizzly hackle tied parachute style. That’s it. Simple fly, but often effective.

Jake

snorider
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Re: Midge Cluster Mysticism

#14

Post by snorider »

Thank you very much guys.

Eric, I am going to Michael's and see if I can find something similar, be well Sir I always enjoy your contributions, and best of luck to you!

I have black ostrich in my desk, but my neighbor does have a black boykin...here pup, pup, pup. SNIP!
Leave it as it is. The ages have been at work on it and man can only mar it. T.R.

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Hellmtflies
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Re: Midge Cluster Mysticism

#15

Post by Hellmtflies »

snorider wrote:Thank you very much guys.

I have black ostrich in my desk, but my neighbor does have a black boykin...here pup, pup, pup. SNIP!

Ha! Thanx for the laugh.

upstate
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Re: Midge Cluster Mysticism

#16

Post by upstate »

Eric Peper wrote:Years back the "plat du jour" for midge clumps on the San Juan was a #16 with a hunk of black "package wrap yarn" trimmed to form a semi circular clump atop the hook, with a parachute wrapped black hackle below. It worked obscenely well.

EP
Eric it is so good to see you back and posting.

Tom

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Loogie
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Re: Midge Cluster Mysticism

#17

Post by Loogie »

A size 20 gray Bivisible might do the trick on tough Midge clusters, just saying.

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DrLogik
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Re: Midge Cluster Mysticism

#18

Post by DrLogik »

Maybe a size #18 Stewart's Black Spider? Would look like a flotilla of midges floating down the stream. Especially if you treated it with some Bergman's Formula. That fly has always been productive for me when the fish "aren't biting".

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thegubster
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Re: Midge Cluster Mysticism

#19

Post by thegubster »

upstate wrote:
Eric Peper wrote:Years back the "plat du jour" for midge clumps on the San Juan was a #16 with a hunk of black "package wrap yarn" trimmed to form a semi circular clump atop the hook, with a parachute wrapped black hackle below. It worked obscenely well.

EP
Eric it is so good to see you back and posting.

Tom
Yeah, I'll say, this was total surprise!!!

Nice to hear you again Eric.

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cdmoore
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Re: Midge Cluster Mysticism

#20

Post by cdmoore »

Believe this is what Eric is talking about:

https://www.flytierspage.com/jcramer/sp ... luster.htm

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