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Peg's Midge Dry
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Peg's Midge Dry
By Don Holbrook

Excerpt from Midge Magic by Don Holbrook and Ed Koch, Published by Stackpole Press.

Peacock Patterns

When I was first taught to tie flies at the Carlisle Fish and Game winter program, the instructors marked patterns in our books that they thought we should try. Otherwise, we probably would have tied the whole book. Quite a few of them were peacock-bodied flies, and I always did well on them. Add to this the fact that peacock feathers seem to work magic when you turn them in the light and watch the iridescent colors change before your eyes. I don't care what it is - if it has peacock in it, I like it.

Probably one of my early reasons for not fishing drys was that I was not very good at casting. I only owned heavy rods, which didn't help on these small streams, but my own ineptness was a bigger problem. Still, I was somewhat fascinated by the many rising fish when the midges hatch in the early evening on the Big Spring Creek, near Newville, Pennsylvania. Occassionally, I'd hear the splashing of a fish being caught and would look around to see a lady releasing a trout back into the stream. She had a little dog that dutifully followed her along the bank (no wading was allowed in this section) and waited while she cast to the next rising fish. She didn't miss too many, and it got to where I would step back when she got to the area I was fishing and invite her to fish through. She did, and she caught most of the risers. I didn't perceive this as a problem, as I was normally fishing nymphs, so we were after different quarry - and I wasn't having much success on the top, anywhere. This went on for two or three years, with not much more than a polite hello.

Then, one very hot July evening in 1977, I had been catching fish until they started rising, but then I couldn't touch a fish. I even resorted to fishing dry flies on top, to no avail. Hearing that now familiar noise, I looked around to see her releasing another trout. She worked her way up to where I was waiting. I couldn't take it any longer. I just had to ask what she was using. To my great surprise, she showed me a little size 26 dry fly with a peacock herl body and white hackle and tails. She gave me one and made me promise not to show it to anyone, and I didn't - until now.

The lady is Peg Myers, from Newville. She doesn't tie these flies - her husband, Barry, does it. I suspect it's really his pattern, but I'm not going to ask. She may have another secret one I can weasel out of her some day. This is another pattern I wouldn't be without.

Materials: Peg's Midge Dry

  • Hook:  Mustad size 24 94840.

  • Thread:  Black.

  • Tail:  3 or 4 white or palest cream hackle.

  • Body:  Very small peacock herl.

  • Hackle:  Small white hackle.

Tying Steps:

1. Insert a size 24 Mustad 94840 hook in the vise, and attach tying thread near the hook point. Wrap the thread to the rear, just above the barb. Using three or four white or palest cream hackle fibers for the tail, tie them in at this point by holding them on the side of the hook and letting the thread roll them on top, as in the chapter on topwater patterns. Make them twice the hook length. Try to use only three turns.

2. Select the smallest peacock herl you can find, and tie it in by the tip at the point where the thread hangs. Gently stroke the fibers on the stem if you like them to stand up. Take two turns of thread to the rear, which should put you at the point where the tail was tied in. Return the thread to the front in tight turns, stopping just far enough behind the eye for three hackle wraps and a tiny head.

3. Wrap the peacock forward, and tie off where the thread hangs.

4. Select a white hackle of about two times the hook gap. The little ones are hard to come by, so do the best you can. Use pale cream or the lightest blue dun if you have to. Tie it in on top of the hook shank by the tip, dull side down. Let the tip lie back through the peacock body, with the rest extending out over the eye. This makes it easier to handle. Make no more than three turns of hackle, and tie off. Trim the excess feather. Always whip-finish these small dries. You won't have to use cement, which can get on the rest of the fly in these sizes.

Completed Peg's Midge Dry, size 24.

A size 26 Peg's Midge Dry, tied by Peg Myer's husband, Barry.
~ Don Holbrook

Credits: Excerpt from Midge Magic by Don Holbrook and Ed Koch, Published by Stackpole Books.

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

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