Fly of the Month: Royal Midge Soft Hackle

Here is a variant pattern that I created from some other designs I have seen. I guess I might call it a ‘Royal Midge Soft Hackle’. I haven’t seen one quite like it, but that’s not to say it hasn’t already been invented. If it has, I relinquish credit and acknowledge its originator. Admittedly, the design does bear resemblance to Bob Churchill’s fly , but isn’t quite the same.

I came up with the idea starting from a small midge pattern made locally popular by Ford Oliphant. That fly has a body tied with purple silk, includes a sparse black hackle, and is found to be very effective when fished in the surface film. To make mine into a sub-surface attractor, I incorporated a red bead, peacock thorax, and copper ribbing (ideas I stole from Greg Garcia’s Rojo Midge) and used a soft hackle.

Although I have had limited opportunity to test the pattern, the fish found it acceptable earlier this fall in the reach above Deckers on the South Platte. I fished it as the trailing fly in a two-nymph rig weighted to fish near the bottom. As the trailing fly, my intent was to position it near, but not on the bottom. This winter and spring, I’ll also be testing it closer to the surface behind a dry fly.

Hook: #20-24 Dai Riki 310
Thread: 8/0 UNI-Thread, black
Abdomen: Pearsol’s purple gossamer silk
Ribbing: Lagartun extra-fine copper wire
Thorax: Peacock herl
Bead: Ruby, silver lined Hackle: Starling

Slip the bead onto the hook and tie in the thread behind the bead. Lay a base of thread along the shank. Tie in the wire ribbing just ahead of the bend, leaving a tag end along the shank.

Behind the wire, tie in the silk. Advance the thread a couple turns down the bend with both silk and wire underneath. Wrap the thread forward, keeping the tag end of the wire aligned along the shank, leaving a gap behind the bead. Follow by neatly wrapping the silk forward and tie off.

Counter wrap the copper ribbing and tie off, again leaving a gap behind the bead. The purpose of the gap is to accommodate the bulk added by the thorax and hackle. Wrap the tying thread back a couple turns and tie in the peacock herl. Make 3 to 4 wraps with the herl and tie off. Select a small hackle from a Starling wing (the really small webby feathers near the shoulder). Tie in behind the bead and make 2 to 3 wraps. Good quality hackle pliers make the process easier. Whip finish to complete the fly. -Tim Stechert

Royal Midge