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Cluster Midge

The Cluster Midge is an adaptation of George Griffith's "Giffith Gnat", one of those tried-and-true fly box regulars used for suggesting those little critters we all so lovingly refer to as midges. In fact the Cluster Midge, designed by Rene' Harrop, is a Griffith's Gnat with the addition of a CDC wing. The pattern books seem to vary in the body material specified, but my research indicates that the original was tied with black dubbing or yarn. One of the more interesting variations is tied with peacock herl for the body, and I have selected that material for this version.


Hook: Tiemco 900BL,  Mustad 94480 or equivalent size #12-22
Thread: Black 6/0 or 8/0
Wing: White CDC (cul de canard or duck butt), tied upright
Rib: Fine gold wire
Body: Peacock herl
Hackle: Grizzly, palmered


1. If the hook is not barbless, smash the barb.

2. Take 1 or 2 CDC feathers. If using two, match their tips.

3. Holding them together, measure them against the shank length, and tie them in just behind the eye, with the tips pointing out over the eye. This is done so that the tips can be pulled up as a wing in front of the body, which will be tied next.

4. Take 1 to 3 choice peacock herl stem forward. The butt-end of the herl should be the end tied in.

5. Now either tie in a separate piece of thread or form a dubbing loop at the same point that the herl was tied in. The thread piece or loop should be about 3" long.

6. At the same point, tie in a poperly sized (for the hook you are using)  dry fly neck or saddle hackle. Tie it in by the tip. Move the tying thread forward to just behind the eye.

7. Place the herl and the thread together and twist counterclockwise to form a "chenille" or dubbing brush. Grab it with hackle pliers and wrap forward to about 1/8" behind the eye. Tie it off there.

8. Palmer the hackle forward in nice even turns, forming a bushy appearance. Tie it off where the herl was tied off.

9. Grab the CDC wing and pull it back, wrapping a series of thread wraps in front of its base--i.e., between the butts and hook eye. This will stand it up. Don't use too much thread.

10. Whip finish.

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Copyright 1998 by Granite Bay Flycasters unless otherwise noted.