Historically I relied almost entirely on a size 20 zebra midge for my subsurface midge larva imitation, and it served me reasonably well. I should probably resort to subsurface midge flies more frequently. On the infrequent occasions when I knotted them to my line, they generally surprised me with their productivity.
During a trip to the South Platte River in 2015, my friend Danny Ryan impressed me with a midge larva/emerger imitation, that he designed and created, and as a result I produced some of them for 2016 and then replenished my supply for 2017. Danny asked me to low key his fly, so I will honor that commitment, and avoid further details in this post.
When I attended the Fly Fishing Show in Denver in January, I watched Pat Dorsey tie flies, and his main focus was midge imitations. He swore that the tiny midge facsimiles were tremendous producers all year round, but particularly in the winter when midges represent the main source of nutrients for trout. I was especially attracted to the mercury black beauty, and as a consequence I took a seat at my fly tying bench and generated an initial supply for 2017. I made ten size 18’s and ten size 20’s. I added a flashback strip of pearl flashabou to all the 18’s and half the 20’s.
I tried the size 18 flashback mercury black beauty on my initial fishing trip to the South Platte River on January 30, but it failed to interest the local trout. I have not given up on the new fly, however, since the cold icy conditions did not lend themselves to a fair trial.