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Cream Midge Spinner
Don Kelly (Skilled Fisherman) PA

Each and every year many of us struggle with midges and those little tiny hooks that are nearly impossible to see. Although the size of the hook will probably never change, there are easier ways to catch the finicky trout sipping midges.

About three years back, I was fishing Big Fishing Creek in upstate Pennsylvania. It is by far one of the finest trout streams in the state in my opinion. Many great hatches, including the famous Green Drake, as well as many smaller insects such as Blue Quills and Sulphers, can be seen daily. However, when the mayflies are not coming off, you can be sure the trout are taking midges. Just before dusk, clouds of cream midges flock to the stream and soon enough emergers are everywhere. Trout rise from deep pools and begin feeding off the surface. Trout as long as your arm mosey into slower water to feed.

It was here that I found the necessity for a reliable midge pattern. Griffith's Gnats work okay, but are a little too dark. CDC type midge adults are good too, but they only last a fish or two before you need to tie on another one. After many quite disappointing days I met an elderly fly fisherman one night along the stream. He noticed me struggling, and he was kind enough to lend a hand. He peered into his box and grabbed a tiny Light Cahill for me to try. Being a Catskill lover, I tied the fly on with very high hopes that it would work. Well, sure enough the pattern worked but I was still not getting great results from the gorging trout.

The day came to an end and I headed back to the hut to do some tying. My eyes became heavy, but I soon realized what I needed. The midges were sitting flush in the water and that is why I was having such trouble. The Catskill pattern floated high as did the Griffith's gnat. Even though a spent midge is not quite the same as a mayfly spinner, I felt a spinner style fly was the best way to go. Minutes later, the cream midge spinner was created. The following day proved my theory right as trout after trout inhaled the fly. One of its best features is its high visibility on the water, so there is no guessing. You know when fish take this fly! Simple yet deadly, this fly has earned its keep in my fly box.

Cream Midge Spinner Materials

    Hook: Mustad 94840 #22-#28.

    Thread: Danville Spider web 18/0.

    Tail: Cream Hackle fibers.

    Abdomen: Cream or 'Light Cahill' dry fly dubbing.

    Wing: White, tan or cream poly yarn.

    Thorax: Cream dry fly dubbing.

Instructions for the Cream Midge Spinner:

    1. Start the thread and cut off the tag end.

    2. Take 3-5 stiff cream hackle fibers and tie in the tail.

    3. Leaving a little space to finish the fly, tie in a small hank of poly yarn to form the wings. Use a figure eight wrap to secure the wings in a spent position.

    4. Dub body and abdomen forming a nice even taper. To finish the fly, just whip finish and trim the wings to length.

How to Fish the Cream Spinner Midge

This pattern is fished like most dry flies. However, I have become more inclined to use very short drifts. Get behind the fish and use a very short drift, maybe a yard in length, and if you don't get a hit the first time, give it another try or two. If still nothing, move on to another fish. Short lining the fish like this makes it much easier to get a good hook set. When I fish midges, I usually only fish one fly at a time and put most my effort into placing the fly to one fish compared to casting a tandem into a feeding lane. However, this fly is can also be fished in tandem with other midges or used with a larger searching pattern. If you are having a tough time on the surface, use a longer drift and keep the fly just under the surface. You will find that many fish feed on sunken midges rather than moving to the surface.

Good Luck to everyone! I hope this fly will help you as much as it did for me and a few other members of FAOL who received this fly from fly swaps.

Below is a very happy 'Linemender' (Cary Morlan) with a beautiful male rainbow he caught on a cream spinner on Rocky Ford Creek in Washington state. ~ DK

For more great flies, check out: Beginning Fly Tying, Intermediate Fly Tying and Advanced Fly Tying.

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