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GrannomDecember 22nd, 2007, 11:05 am
Northwest PA

Posts: 87
I'll be down in the Western MD Mountains the next week or so, and plan on fishing a small stream for a few days. It looks like I'll be doing some midging. Can anyone help me out with some information on winter midges, as I've never fished them... color, patterns, time of day... etc.

Thank You,
"Be calm - you're there..." "...Tell yourself there's no rush, even if there is."

-John Gierach
MartinlfDecember 22nd, 2007, 6:36 pm
Palmyra PA

Posts: 3130
Most midges I've seen in the winter were black, dark grey, or olive. I believe that with some size 20-24 griffith's gnats, the same size parachutes (I like a white poly or zlon wing--with a few fluorescent orange and black calf hair wings for glare, and grizzly hackle) you should be fine on top. I believe dark grey is the best all around body color (use thread). I like wide gap hooks such at Tiemco 2488, or Varivas midge hooks if you can get these. Daichii 1640's in size 18 are good but a bit heavy; with the short shank they tie a size 20 or 22 fly. As for down under it's hard to beat beadhead patterns using tiny glass or metal beads, thread body, and a fine silver or gold wire. A slower sinker can be tied using the thread to make the head. The internet should have lots of pictures for these kind of flies.
"He spread them a yard and a half. 'And every one that got away is this big.'"

--Fred Chappell
LittleJDecember 22nd, 2007, 7:09 pm
Hollidaysburg Pa

Posts: 251
I'm just curious, how in the world do you manage to tie parachutes under size 18. I'm not doubting your ability just looking for some helpful pointers. keep in mind I have a hard time with parachutes of all sizes, so I may be missing something fundamental, but i find it difficult to keep such a small bundle of fiber rigid enough to get good wraps of hackle on them.
CrenoDecember 22nd, 2007, 7:51 pm
Grants Pass, OR

Posts: 305
Jeff - decades ago when I tied flies I used a piece of stiff leader material as the post for small parachutes. As I haven't read any of the past posts I don't know if you folks use a "gallows." I always thought a gallows made parachutes pretty easy and it doesn't really matter what one uses for a post.

JOHNWDecember 23rd, 2007, 8:10 am
Chambersburg, PA

Posts: 452
Parachutes are, to me, pretty easy and I will go as small as 24-26's. I have even tied a few size 28's but that was just to prove I could do it not to actually fish with.
What aspect of the tie gives you the trouble?

If it is solely keeping the bundle rigid enough you have some choices:
1. wrap thread higher on the base of the post and cover the height several times.
2. apply a small dab of Zap-A-Gap or other super glue type material to the base of the post before dubbing the abdomen.
3. Use a gallows tool. This is too cumbersome to me so I don't tread on this path.

"old habits are hard to kill once you have gray in your beard" -Old Red Barn
SlateDrake9December 23rd, 2007, 10:16 am
Potter County, PA

Posts: 144
My most productive midges on top are dark dun colored this time of year. Pattern doesn't seem to matter much, just size.

For nymphing with midges, I don't think you can go wrong with zebra midges in various colors and sizes. Dark brown is my absolute favorite, followed by bright red.
Fishing with bait is like swearing in church.
-- Slate Drake
MartinlfDecember 23rd, 2007, 11:44 am
Palmyra PA

Posts: 3130
Jeff, JohnW's solutions are mine. I wrap thread up the post starting right at the base. Often if you just keep wrapping at the base the wraps will slide up the post all by themselves. A tiny drop of super glue (I've been using the Locktite stuff with a brush in the bottle recently and like it for its convenience. I taper the tip of the brush with scissors or nail clippers, cutting off a "corner" right at the tip) will stiffen the post just fine for wrapping the hackle. I often tie off under the hackles, using a whip finish tool and a tiny drop of polyurethane glue on the thread, which I draw into the whip finish to make it all bombproof. But you also can tie off on the shank on these tiny flies. If you tie the fly in reverse, with the post near the hook bend, it's easy to tie off on the shank between the post and the eye of the hook and trim out all excess fibers. All this takes practice, and my first attempts were clumsy, as are many of the new procedures I first try out. I do use a light and a magnifier, witthout which none of this would be possible. JohnW, I've tied parachutes down to size 30--so there. :) (I know this will lead to you tying a 32 next week, just to get my goat, so I'm already looking for some 34 hooks.) One other tip I forgot. I like Gary Borger's method of taking a longish bit of post material, laying it under the hook shank, perpendicular to the shank, and pulling both ends up to make the post (sort of like putting on a poly spinner wing. but under the hook, not on top, and pulling the ends up and together to make the post. A bit of glue at the base and it won't slip or ever pull out. Perhaps we can meet on the J one day and talk more about this.
"He spread them a yard and a half. 'And every one that got away is this big.'"

--Fred Chappell
JOHNWDecember 23rd, 2007, 2:41 pm
Chambersburg, PA

Posts: 452
Nah I have outgrown the need to tie such small flies.
The loop/stirrup method you described is my absolute go to method.
I also tie a pretty wicked cutwing using a foam stirrup to provide a sturdy baseto wrap hackle around.
"old habits are hard to kill once you have gray in your beard" -Old Red Barn
LittleJDecember 24th, 2007, 6:09 am
Hollidaysburg Pa

Posts: 251

I guess the biggest problem i have is wrapping the hackle,i always seem to have my wraps slip off. I have been playing some intense games of pick up sticks with my 2 yr old daughter so hopefully if it's a motor skills problem i'll work it out with a little training:) I'm going to try the zap a gap method to stiffen up the post. Is that something you always use or just on your smaller flies?I guess I prob. just need to practice them more, I always tie a few ,get pissed, and go back to my much simpler cdc comparaduns. louis, i hope to see you sometime on the j. p.m. me if you're ever in the area.
p.s. one more question, do you strip enough hackle back so that you can wind up to the top thread wrap, then hackle down or do you hackle up and then back down. I suppose it doesn't really matter but I thought while i was on the topic i'd throw that out there as well.
TaxonDecember 24th, 2007, 7:51 am
Site Editor
Plano, TX

Posts: 1327

The preferred technique when winding hackle on a post is to start at the bottom, and place each successive wrap beneath the previous. This forces the previous wrap up, thereby increasing the tightness of the wraps.
Best regards,
Roger Rohrbeck
JOHNWDecember 24th, 2007, 7:55 am
Chambersburg, PA

Posts: 452
I don't use the super glue method anymore but when I was getting the hang of things I used it on EVERY Parachute.

As far as how to wrap the hackle: YES it matters. ALOT!
I strip fibers off and bind the stem in to the post so it ends up paralell to, and part of, the post (again adding some rigidity to the post). I then wrap the hackle down the post and tie off. I do this for all of my parachutes and you end up with a fairly bombproof fly.

On advantage to using long fiber/stirrup technique Louis described is you can actually grab each side of the bundle and pull to really lock the posting and hackle wraps in tight.

Actually both of these techniques are what allowed me to delve into the sub#20 hook sizes.

P.S. I'll gladly swap you parachutes for Comparaduns of any type. Those seem to be my achillies heel.
"old habits are hard to kill once you have gray in your beard" -Old Red Barn
JADDecember 24th, 2007, 10:06 am
Alexandria Pa

Posts: 362
Hello every one , not to be argumentative but-( their always a but)on a fly that small the surface tension is our friend. A fly presented properly in the meniscus will float with no hackle at all. I can't hold a candle to my friends Louis & John on tying ---so Louis& John on those 32ies tie some extras :)

Have a good Holiday Season

The other john

They fasten red (crimson red) wool around a hook, and fix onto the wool two feathers which grow under a cocks wattles, and which in colour are like wax.
Radcliffe's Fishing from the Earliest Times,
MartinlfDecember 24th, 2007, 6:42 pm
Palmyra PA

Posts: 3130
John Dunn, my flies are your flies, as you know.

John W, same for you--and thanks for mentioning the stem up the post method. I had just thought of it when I read your post. Great minds think alike . . .?? Or are we just the same kind of crazy?

After I tie the hackle butt in on the shank I begin wrapping the thread around the base of the post and the stripped quill. As John says, it supplies extra rigidity to the post, and, come to think of it, I don't think I use super glue as much now myself.

To all, Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!
"He spread them a yard and a half. 'And every one that got away is this big.'"

--Fred Chappell
LittleJDecember 26th, 2007, 6:33 pm
Hollidaysburg Pa

Posts: 251
Thanks for the tips.....I've tied up about a dozen and it is starting to "click" for me. I like running the stem up the post, it really helps eliminate the hackle sliding off. John, I'd gladly swap some comparaduns, I must warn you though I am certainly no world class tyer(this forum really needs a spell checker ,tyer-tier... who knows?). The best advice i was ever given on hair wing comparaduns was to tie in the wing backwards(tips towards the bend) this eliminates the fat abdomen problem that i always ran into.
MartinlfJanuary 12th, 2015, 8:11 pm
Palmyra PA

Posts: 3130
One midge thread with some suggestions. I'll add that I don't use super glue on the post anymore, just some thread wraps to stiffen the post--though I do use a tiny drop under the post, in the "stirrup" to make sure the post doesn't slide around the hook shank.
"He spread them a yard and a half. 'And every one that got away is this big.'"

--Fred Chappell
Justin483January 13th, 2015, 2:15 pm
Clarkesville GA, USA. (North Georgia)

Posts: 26

I could help you out with tying smaller parachute patterns. I've got pictures for you but don't know how to upload them on here by my phone yet. If you'd like some help just get back to me on here, private message, or Facebook at Justin Aldrich. Tying and using smaller Parachute patterns have really increased my fish numbers by far. Good luck.
MartinlfJanuary 14th, 2015, 4:21 pm
Palmyra PA

Posts: 3130
Justin, LittleJ also has moved off the board. I believe he got very busy with work when a job changed. Check dates for most recent posts. But don't worry, he catches his share of fish to be sure.
"He spread them a yard and a half. 'And every one that got away is this big.'"

--Fred Chappell
Justin483January 14th, 2015, 4:36 pm
Clarkesville GA, USA. (North Georgia)

Posts: 26
No worries Martin, thanks.

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