CDC & Foam Midge Step-by-Step

CDC & Foam Midge Step-by-Step:

In early 2021, I highlighted the diversity of Chironomidae, the non-biting midges, in the introduction to a Step-by-Step tutorial of the Zebra Midge.  Consisting of more than 20,000 named species, and occurring in waters from the equator to the poles, midges are perhaps the most widespread group of aquatic insects on the planet.  As a result, they play a vital role in almost every aquatic system across the globe…including my backyard.

Here in south Louisiana, we don’t spend a great deal of time thinking about aquatic hatches.  However, they do happen, often with more regularity than we expect.  Right outside my own backdoor, it is not uncommon to see the telltale signs of rising fish as dusk encroaches many evenings throughout the spring and summer.  Occasionally, these rises are splashier, indicative of the night-hatching mayflies (genus Ephoron) that crowd my porch lights intermittently from May through September.  However, more often than not, the delicate rings formed on the water’s surface are indicative of the midge hatches that seem to occur continually throughout the year.

While a Griffith’s Gnat or even a small Adams dry will certainly do the trick during such hatches, I always like to have a variety of options at my disposal and have found the profile of today’s step-by-step to closely match that of the large cream-colored midges that often drive my local panfish crazy. Tied on size 18 hook below, this is a fairly simple tie that can easily be adapted to mimic any number of midges (and related species) in both warm and coldwater scenarios.

Standard Dry Fly (#16-22) 12/0 or 70 Denier (Black) Materials Micro Chenille (Black)
Materials Dubbing (Black) Materials 2mm Foam (Black)Materials CDC (White)

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CDC & Foam Midge Step-by-Step Tying Instructions:

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Tips and Tricks

  1. Why Black? – In the intro, I mentioned that the predominant midge species in my backyard test pond are cream in color.  You may then be wondering why I selected black for the example above.  Well, that decision is due to the fact that the hatches in question occur at or after dusk.  In low or no-light situations, black simply creates a better silhouette.  With that in mind, I decided to concern myself less with matching the hatch and more with improving the visibility of my fly.  Were I to tie this fly with the intent of fishing a daytime midge hatch, more care would be taken to match the color of the midges in question.
  2. Dubbing Selection/Substitutions – While this fly does not leave significant room for substitutions, it is worth noting that I’ve stumbled across variations using any number of materials for the underbody.  Above, I utilized an SLF Dubbing Blend that I felt imparted the look I was hoping for.  In other instances, I have seen peacock herl, natural dubbing blends and even CDC-based dubbing utilized for this underbody.  With that in mind, use what you have on hand or experiment with multiple options to see what provides the best results.  Personally, plan on attempting the CDC dubbed underbody at some point down the line.  I imagine the bubbles trapped in the CDC fibers would make for a great looking midge from the fish’s perspective.
  3. More than a Midge – While I framed the above fly as a Midge (Chironomidae), this fly is often used to imitate other small flies as well.  In particular, small terrestrial members of the Biblionidae are often imitated with similar patterns.  While not a true aquatic, such species at times end up on the water’s surface, and, like other terrestrials, quickly become part of the local fish population’s diet.

Proof of Concept

I’m still waiting on the next midge hatch to test this pattern out, but expect to see some sunfish photos added shortly.  It’s rare that more than a few weeks to pass in the warmer months without a major midge hatch in the backyard.

Tight Line!


Species Caught on the CDC & Foam Midge to Date:

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