Midges. They just sound small and difficult don't they? But in a crazy warm spell of Utah weather I figured it was nearly a sure thing, despite it being January fifth. So I headed out after work with visions of a heavy midge hatch making the mere fifteen minute drive seem closer to an hour. I Was excited to hit some moving water again, and figured if the catching sucked (the fishing is always good) at least I'd be out and could test out a couple of new-to-me patterns. Arrived at the river and to my dismay there wasn't much of anything hatching above or below the surface (flipped some rocks). So I decided to start out nymphing with my standby nymph, a #18 bead head pheasant tail, trailed by a midge larvae pattern trailer until the hatch picked up. Worked my way up stream slowly, trying to keep to the east bank so as to minimize my shadow on the water. Continually reminding myself that I need to take my time and try to thoroughly fish every hole, so different than the way I fish during the warmer months when I quickly move on figuring to cover as much river as possible. Nothing much happening on this rig, so rather than get panicky and start changing flies haphazardly I decided to just add some weight to the rig by way of a couple of split shot about 16" above the top fly. That seemed to be the ticket for the next hole, second cast I had a hit and the fourth cast I landed a pretty little brown on the pheasant tail.
Then, curiously, nothing came out of the rest of that hole or the next. So I decided to try out some of the 'new' flies. First was an AK Hopper which I really like the look of on the water (though I really didn't expect anything happening on it today) then a Blue Wing Olive patten with an upright wing that I found in a fly shop on the San Juan River in New Mexico. It actually took me a while to get the wing right at the vise, but the fly looked great on the water. Well, with the flies tried out I decided to go back to the rig that I started with and managed a little better brown to end the day. No, the hatch didn't come off. But who cares? I went flyfishing in January without any iced guides! Not bad for a quick trip after work.