Tying and Fishing Winter’s Most abundant food source
Experiment with different materials to create small patterns that stand out
Myth #1: Small flies=Small fish……..NOT
The main food source on freestones like the Eagle River during the winter months are Midges. Sure they would rather eat Drakes and Stones, stay nice and fat and not worry about calories but most of whats available is tiny. When the midges are in the drift there can be large numbers of them. Getting your pattern to stand out can be key once you find some feeding fish.

Most Fly Tyers midge patterns stand out because they have too much material on the hook. This guy has a very thin body with a thread rib to reduce bulk as well as some UV sheeting material for some wing buds. UV is a great way to make your patterns stand out from the crowd

Micro tubing makes great slim segmented bodies, changing thread color under the tubing can give you many different shades while just buying a couple of flavors of tubing. Small hot spots of red or green can also help.

Mess with body colors. Blue is a color trout see well, especially in a sea of green larve. Don’t worry about matching hatches, go with colors you know they see well.

Purple bodies, this body again has a thread rib. Glass beads on nymphs are nothing new, so try and find some beads that are a little different than what everyone else feeds them. This one is clear but has some red underneath.
Play with different collar materials while still trying to keep the silhouette thin. Experimenting with body cures such as Clear Cure or Hydro can preserve delicate thread bodies and add some nice, lifelike shine.
Nothing trumps presentation when you are fishing small other than maybe being seen. Once you are comfortable tying small you will find the room to add some valuable, fish catching materials back on the shank of your hook.
That’s what I got.

It’s time to nail down your 2024 fly fishing trip with Minturn Anglers.

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Justin Nolan

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