Midge Morning

Get out early.  Beat the wind.  Fish midges.  That was the mantra yesterday.  I left home in the dark, driving eastward over the pass.  Outside of Livingston the temp was sixty-two.  A few miles to the south, forty-one.

I stopped along the Yellowstone and snapped a few photos before heading up to the creek. The morning sky was just starting to brighten.

I wondered...any midges this morning?

My question answered when I took a deep breath and sucked one in.  I wasn't the only one feeding on bugs.  Trout were rising too.

It was still calm when I waded into the creek.  Fish were rising actively.  I caught several right off. A few took a fuzzy CDC pattern that imitated a midge cluster.  I soon tired of trying to keep it afloat and switched to a nondescript midge pupa.  A few fish ate that too, then the action slowed, even though the fish continued to rise.

I moved downstream, found a few more rising fish and bided my time by trying to cast between gusts.  By now the fish had become quite finicky.  I switched to a serendipity like pattern.  It got a few grabs, but the hook didn't stick.  Then a nice brown took the fly, jumped, and snapped the leader. 

The legs of my waders were covered with small adult midges.  Even when clustered, they were small.     I suspect that the fish were picking off emerging midges.  Unfortunately they were much smaller than anything that I had in my fly box. 

I then tried a Griffith's gnat. A fish rose, nose right under the fly. It was counting hackle fibers, no doubt plugging the number into some algorithm that helped determine "eat" or "no eat".  It turned its nose downward.  "No eat."

Back to the serendipity.  I worked pretty hard for the next couple of fish.  By noon the the wind was blowing steadily with some major gusts. The trees were shedding leaves rapidly.

Fishing became pretty much impossible, especially as I was casting all leader and only a couple of feet of fly line.  I quit at noon, satisfied to have caught some nice fat rainbows on midges.


  1. Postscript. Yesterdays big blow ushered in an evening storm. It rained here in the valley. This morning the sky was clear, the mountains capped in snow. It is beautiful.

    I'll have to tie some smaller midges. I'll probably be ready for commitment to a rubber room after trying to tie one onto 6X or 7X. On second thought, maybe I just stick to 18's and 20's.

  2. Midge fishing can be greatly rewarding or totally frustrating, usually close to the latter, in my experience. Those G. Gnats can be the ticket, but sometimes the pattern has got to be small, down to 22 or 24, on 7X, and then things get maddening. Looks like you had a nice outing, though, and those autumns tones are gorgeous.

    1. Yes to rewarding and frustrating Walt. I know that I need to tie smaller midges, and also invest in a pair of superman glasses so I can see 'em. As you noticed, it was a spectacular morning.

  3. Les:
    That first photo of the creek (depuy?)...pretty spectacular. A special pic. Also, impressive angling..midges can be challenging. A calm morning can make the day.

    1. DePuy it was Bob. Great color in the sky that morning. Went back a few days ago for more. Midging is addicting. 7X exposes flaws in ones knots and eyesight though.

  4. Gonna' need an electron microscope for some of those tiny flies..you're a better man than me Les..

    1. That and better manual dexterity. I tied up a few 22's the other day. And, while still not so small, they're small enough to keep me occupied with the knot tying process. And yes, 7x dropper snarls are the pits. Best stick with those stripers Mike.


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