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Fly Box Porn  ─  Part 5

Cameron Sweats the Small Stuff

 

"Most people would succeed in small things if they were not troubled with great ambitions."

Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

The world is a different place when you gaze at life in a macro mode.  Cameron Mortenson knows this fact intimately. Cameron fishes for trout, sometimes very big trout, with flies that start at size 20 and go down from there.  It's a rarified and specialized world.  It's a world where every detail bears equal significance; from the knot used to tie on the fly to the materials used to construct the bug itself. Primarily fishing the six patterns in the variety of colors pictured below, Cameron is able to fool tough fish.  By using miniature tippets and finely crafted fiberglass rods he often pays his dues for membership in the famed 20/20 club.  Lee Wulff would be proud!
 

"Midges will work on any river that has a significant midge base during the day to day diet of the trout in that water. I take at least one fully stocked midge box on any trip...just in case" says Cameron.  "Two years ago I learned that the game does go anywhere as a couple friends and I took a spring trip to the Grey Reef section of the North Platte River in Wyoming. Besides a few worm patterns, RS-2's and Krystal Flash Midges fished deep took some amazing trout. The biggest surprise was that we were fishing size 20 and 22 midges off of 3X tippet. That would be unheard of back here on rivers in the Appalachia."

Cameron learned to fish small on the waters of northern Colorado nearly a decade ago. He says he was surprised at first to see solid fish move from slack water behind a rock to snatch up a tiny midge in the flow of the riffle water. "I became a believer…FAST!" says Cameron.  His favorite set-up is a double midge nymph rig. "A grey CDC wing RS-2 and a black Krystal Flash Midge are at the top of the rotation of tandem rigs I use."

The genesis of this profile started with some posts on the Fiberglass Flyrodders Internet forum.  Pictures of beautiful rainbow trout and tiny, tiny flies prompted an invitation to join the Fly Fish Ohio team in a Fly Box Porn installment.  "Over the past year and a half I've rediscovered the joys of fishing fiberglass and have added rods to my collection from six and a half to eight foot in length." he confided.  "For the narrow tree covered waters that I fish in North Carolina, I've found that a seven foot five weight is the perfect fly rod for me. I've also shortened up my leaders to about seven feet as well. The short rod allows me to cast in places that an eight to nine foot rod would be limited and I am not catching tree limbs overhead on missed hook sets.  The shorter leader has given me more control when roll or flip casting with just a few feet of fly line past the rod tip. A lot of what I am doing is short line high stick nymphing tandem midge rigs with a bit of weight to get the flies down through shallow riffles and runs. The shorter leader lends to getting better drifts and hook sets since there is less fly line and leader to contend with on the trout’s take of the fly."

Just because the flies are microscopic doesn't mean the tackle is scaled back.  After all, the fish are still just as big!  Cameron favors three to five weight rods.  He matches his gear to the fish and water, not the fly.  Says Cameron "Last spring I found myself under gunned trying to hook up with sixteen plus inch trout in tight fast water with a fiberglass seven foot three weight. After lunch I switched to a seven foot five weight rod...problem solved."

When asked if he finds the fish to be truly selective to pattern at these small sizes, Cameron is quick to answer that color and size are most important. Red and black midges are his top producers, but occasionally something flashy in green, gold, or silver can make a reluctant fish move.  "I’ve found that getting creative at the vise, even on these small flies, can yield some interesting and effective midge patterns."

Cameron has some advice for those of you who are planning on getting serious about the midge game.  "Know this one thing," he says.  "The advantage is ALWAYS to the fish. When you are casting size 20 and smaller flies on light tippet to large fish in skinny or structure filled water…you are at their will. It is easy to get really frustrated when you regularly get busted off; the hook comes unbuttoned or even straightens under the weight of a large fish on the run. Realize this…it happens…and it will happen again. As you are sliding your net under a twenty plus inch fish that took a size 22 midge and then fought a spirited fight for the past five minutes…well…all the memories of a missed trout will melt away and be forgotten."
 

KRYSTAL FLASH MIDGE
THREAD – UNI-THREAD 8/0 - BLACK
HOOK – TIEMCO 101 – SIZE 22 – 28
BODY – ONE STRAND KRYSTAL FLASH – VARIOUS COLORS
HEAD – BLACK FUR DUBBING

RIBBED THREAD MIDGE
HOOK – TIEMCO 101 – SIZE 20 - 26
BODY – UNI-THREAD 8/0 – VARIOUS COLORS
RIB – SMALL DIAMETER WIRE – SILVER OR GOLD
HEAD – BLACK FUR DUBBING
CDC WING RS-2
HOOK – TIEMCO 101 – SIZE 20 – 24
BODY – UNI-THREAD 8/0
WING – SINGLE CDC FEATHER
HEAD – FUR DUBBING TO MATCH BODY COLOR
KRYSTAL FLASH WING RS-2
HOOK – TIEMCO 101 – SIZE 20 - 24
BODY - UNI-THREAD 8/0
WING – ONE STRAND OF KRYSTAL FLASH FOLDED BACK
HEAD – FUR DUBBING TO MATCH BODY COLOR

WD-40

HOOK – TIEMCO 2487 – SIZE 20 - 24
BODY – UNI-THREAD 8/0 – VARIOUS COLORS
WING CASE – SIX STRANDS OF PARTRIDGE FEATHER
HEAD – FUR DUBBING TO MATCH OR NEAR MATCH OF BODY COLOR

VINYL RIB MIDGE
HOOK – TIEMCO 101 – SIZE 20 – 22
UNDERBODY – UNI-THREAD 8/0 – VARIOUS COLORS
BODY – MIDGE SIZE VINYL RIB TO MATCH UNDERBODY
HEAD – BLACK FUR DUBBING

Click Below for Larger Images

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