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Zelon Musk Midge Pattern & Tying Instructions

Fly Tying Recipe: Zelon Musk Midge
Standard dry-fly hook (here a Dai-Riki #320), size 24
Black, 16/0 Veevus
White Improved Micro Zelon
Tying thread
UV-cure resin
Natural muskrat-fur dubbing, guard hairs removed
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Video Transcript:

I call this fly the Zelon Musk Midge because Zelon and muskrat are the only two materials used to make it, other than thread.

I start with a size 24 Dai-Riki #320 uniform gap, dry fly hook, a favorite of mine. After getting the hook firmly secured in the jaws of my tying vise, I load a bobbin with a spool of black Veevus 16/0. It’s a real pleasure to tie small flies with this stuff.

Get your thread started on the hook shank leaving an eye-length space behind the eye and take a few wraps rearward before snipping or breaking off the tag.

Both the tail and the wing of the fly are formed using white Improved Micro Zelon from Blue Ribbon Flies in West Yellowstone, Montana. Isolate one of the clumps of strands, they’re pretty apparent, and snip it free from the hank. This will be enough to make numerous flies. Fold about an inch of one end over to form a small loop. The loop should be approximately as long as the whole hook but the measurement here really isn’t critical. Place the loop on top of the hook shank and take a couple of thread wraps to secure it. Do your best to keep the loop oriented on top of the shank. Pull the long part of the clump up to vertical and snip it off close with your tying scissors. Continue taking thread wraps to bind the Zelon to the top of the hook all the way back to the start of the bend. Then, take wraps forward to cover up the Zelon and build a slightly tapered body on the fly. Keep taking wraps and pulling the wing back until you’re just to the initial tie-in point then take a few wraps in front of the wing. You can then reach in with the tips of your tying scissors and cut the tail off so it’s about a hook gap in length.

To keep the wing both vertical and flared, side to side, I like to use just the smallest drop of UV cure resin, I mean really small. With your bodkin, apply the resin only to the very base of the wing as you pull it back. Keep pulling the wing back while you give the resin a shot of UV light to cure it. This UV resin step isn’t completely necessary as you’ll see in a minute but it does help to keep the wing from wanting to angle forward while in use. With the resin cured, pull the wing up to vertical and kind of spread it out from side to side, like the wing of a comparadun.

Muskrat fur is used to build up the thorax and also support the wing, a scant pinch is all you need. Pull out any longer guard hairs leaving just the fine underfur. Build a slender dubbing noodle on your tying thread that’s only about an inch long. Then, start taking wraps with the noodle, first behind the wing then in front to keep it propped up. Ideally, the dubbing should end right behind the hook eye. Once there, do a 3 or 4 turn whip finish, seat the knot well and then snip or cut your tying thread free. To trim the wing to length, pinch it and snip off just the very top of the fibers. This should open the loop. Keep trimming and checking until you have a wing about a hook shank in length, like so. Give the fibers a little preen to bring them out into a fan shape that will help the fly to ride correctly on the water’s surface.

Just like the Space-X rocket, I really hope this fly takes off.