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CDC Transitional Midge Pattern & Tying Instructions

Fly Tying Recipe: CDC Transitional Midge
Standard dry-fly hook (here a TMC 100), size 18-22
Olive, 6/0 or 140-denier
Grizzly neck feather
Dark natural CDC Puff
Natural Australian possum dubbing
Try it with different body colors, such as red, gray, black, cream, and olive
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Video Transcript:

This ultra tasty little morsel is Rene Harrop’s CDC Transitional Midge. It floats well and is intended to imitate a midge pupa emerging in the surface film to become an adult. Here author, fly tier and blogger Matt Grobert is going demonstrate how to tie this nicely detailed yet rather simple pattern.

Matt starts with a TMC 100 dry fly hook in a size 20 and after mashing the barb and securing the hook in his tying vise, loads a bobbin with a spool of 6/0 olive Danville. Is it ever really loaded with anything else?

Start your thread about 1/3 of the way down the hook shank and take wraps rearward before snipping or breaking off the tag. End with your thread just above the hook point.

From the outside lower edge of a grizzly neck, select a single, small hackle with a nice fine point and pull it free from the skin. In this case, there’s no sense wasting the better hackles found toward the center of the neck. Lay the hackle on top of the hook so its tip extends about a hook shank length behind the bend. Take thread wraps to secure it while keeping it positioned on top of the shank. Leave your thread at about the half way point on the shank and while lifting the butt end of the feather up, snip it off close.

A single, dark natural CDC puff is used to form much of the remainder of this fly. The longer the fibers on the puff the better. If there any shorter fibers down toward the butt, carefully strip them off. With the fibers pulled up and parallel to the stem, lay the puff on top of the hook shank with the lower ends of the fibers, not including the very butt, extending to just in front of the hook eye. While maintaining this position, take thread wraps to secure the puff to the top of the hook shank. Continue taking wraps rearward all the way back to the bend.

Now for the really clever part. Snip the butt end of the puff off to free the lower ends of the CDC fibers. Divide the fibers into roughly equal amounts on either side of the hook to represent emerging wings. Then reach in with the tips of your tying scissors and snip away just the stem.

Here, Matt is going to use natural colored Australian Possum for the body of the fly but use whatever color you like to match the naturals. Red, gray, black, cream and olive are all very popular. Form an ever so thin dubbing noodle on your tying thread, really just enough to color it. Start making touching wraps up the shank to build the body of the fly. When you reach the budding wings, sweep them back and take a few wraps in front. Make an effort to leave some bare hook shank behind the eye.

With the wings split to either side, pull the tips of the CDC forward out over the hook eye to form the back or wing case of the fly. Bind the fibers down in front of the wings with a few tight turns of tying thread. Then, do a five or six turn whip finish and snip or cut your tying thread free. Finally, lift the remaining fibers up and snip them off to form a small head.

It’s pretty amazing how many different body parts can be formed with a single CDC puff. Mr. Harrop really had the thinking cap on for this one. A very cool little fly.