These blustery spring days when Mother Nature can’t seem to make up her mind can frustrate even the most seasoned angler when it comes time to figure out the right fly pattern. Bright sunshine one minute can be followed up by a quick dose of rain, a snow squall or a sleety mix of both. Often, the best choice, particularly when trout are working but it’s not obvious what they’re after, is a simple midge pattern.
My trouble at the vise with midge patterns begins with their size. They’re tiny, and my hands just aren’t made to adeptly tie flies that I can barely see, let alone tie to a size 6x tippet at the river. But, as Tim Flagler points out, Pat Dorsey’s Top Secret Midge is a fairly simple pattern that, with some practice, can make even the most ham-handed tier like me look like he knows what he’s doing. That said, it’ll snow in Belize before you catch me trying to tie a size 26 midge pattern that Tim does with enviable dexterity in the video above.
As Tim says, this fly was likely developed for finicky trout on Western tailwaters. But flies like this work particularly well on trout that are after emergers on unsettled winter and spring days when the fish are working, but you honestly can’t see what they’re eating. Next time you see a lot of swirls or subtle rises, but you can’t see exactly what the fish are on, consider a midge. And this pattern is as good as any (and, after some practice, it’s really simple to tie).
— Chris Hunt