Spring Midge Patterns

Tung Teaser (upper left): This is a Merritt Harris favorite. This little pupa pattern with the tungsten bead sinks quickly. The silver bead is visible to the fish and there are a ton of dark midge pupa in the river. This is a great fly to fish below a buoyant dry fly. The Tung Teaser gets down and your dry fly acts as an indicator—a fun way to fish shallow water. It’s especially good when you see fish rolling or bulging, but fail to see many classic rise forms.

Zebra Midge (bottom left): This is one of the most popular midge patterns on the river. You can tie it with a dubbed thorax or bead, whatever turns you on—the fish don’t seem to care.

A Bighorn River spring midge pattern collection

Juju Midge (upper middle): This dark-olive midge pattern has a great segmented look, and the flash of the Super Hair seems to attract fish. This is one of those crossover patterns that seems to work well as a midge or a Baetis nymph. (Crossover, not “cross dresser.” This is important to clarify for our California readers). It’s often beneficial to pump a trout’s stomach and see what color of midge pupa predominates. There are days when it’s all about olive. The Juju Midge can be the ticket. There is also a Juju Baetis pattern which is very effective.

Flashback Quill Nymph (lower middle): This is one of my absolute favorite patterns. If you’re lazy, you can rig this fly below a sowbug and fish it exclusively from early April through June. I’m not saying you shouldn’t change your tippet once or twice during this time period, or go home and see the family, but you get what I mean. It’s very productive during the spring and early summer. Come to think of it, it works great in the late summer for a caddis pupa. Then it starts working real good in the fall, for the fall Baetis. Heck, fish this fly ALL the time. The Flashback Quill is no longer tied with stripped peacock herl (quill) as the quill was somewhat fragile. We’ve now substituted a thread abdomen.

Yong’s Midge (upper right): This is a San Juan River pattern that migrated north. An outstanding fly when brown seems to be the color of choice. For some reason, this fly works especially well for me on the upper three miles, and on cloudy days.

Root Beer Midge (lower right): A lighter brown fly that has proven very consistent. Some of our clients have asked whether this pattern has a root beer flavor, and the answer is “No”, this is a color designation. The fly in the picture is a little more orangish than the actual. I’ve had some great days fishing this fly with a dark Baetis nymph pattern.

All the flies pictured can be purchased at the Bighorn Trout Shop.