Fly of the Month: Pabst Blue Ribbon

Now, why would anyone name a fly after a beer? Blue Quill guide and fly-tier Bob Dye says it is for the best of reasons: “It just happened that I was enjoying a cold one and the fly kind of looked like the can.”

Considering that the fly really is a nice looking one and Bob insists it fishes great, I guess we can overlook that he wasn’t drinking something a little better. He says this midge pattern is great for tailwater fishing, which is what we all should be getting ready for in another six weeks or so as the snow melt pushes us off the freestone streams.

Bob says he also has been using this fly in such places as Deckers, Cheesman Canyon, and the Roaring Fork with good success. He thinks the key is the little red tag on the end, which he believes triggers a reaction from the fish. You will notice some similarities between this and a Rainbow Warrior, which also works well around here, but Bob said this tends to tie up as a “more midgey” fly.

“I’ve been guiding with this fly over the past few weeks and can’t keep enough in my box,” Bob said.

Like the other midges we've featured of late, you will want to keep it small, both in size and in your tying. Don’t waste any extra wraps of thread. The one in the photos is a size 20. Bob typically ties them down to a size 26. If he is tying for Cheesman, he would probably tie a #24.

Tying Instructions

Start by putting the bead on the hook and placing the hook in your vise. Then begin wrapping your red thread from right behind the eye, tapering it ever so slightly from front to back.


Wrap on back so that you just start into the bend of the hook, then make three or four wraps back toward the eye and stop.

At this point, tie in a 2-inch strip or so of tinsel, being sure to leave exposed the little red tag of three or four wraps of thread that are between the tie-in point and the bend of the hook. Also, it often helps to make the tie-in just a little to the side rather than right on top of the hook. When tied in, the tinsel should be hanging back over the bend of the hook. Now wrap your red thread back up to behind the bead. Be sure to maintain the taper.

Next smoothly wrap your tinsel up to behind the bead and tie off. Again, be careful to maintain the taper. Clip off the excess tinsel.

Lightly dub your thread and make two or three wraps right behind the bead. Whip finish behind the bead. That’s it. You’re done.

-John Haile, photos by Tim Stechert