Fly of the Week: Improved Zelon Midge

Fly of the Week: Improved Zelon Midge

Photo courtesy of John Juracek

Midges are the most plentiful food source for trout in many rivers, including the Madison, making them extremely important to the fly angler. Fish rise to midges on the Madison every month of the year, and we've found no other midge pattern to be more effective than the Improved Zelon Midge. It's simplicity makes it a breeze to tie, the Zelon adds excellent flotation, and most importantly, the fish just love it. Simply put, this fly is an essential winter pattern, and no serious angler should hit the water without a few Zelon Midges in their box any time of the year.


Hook: Dai Riki 125 or Tiemco 2488 Size 20-24

Thread: Olive Dun 8/0 Uni-Thread

Shuck & Wings: Midge Gray Straight Zelon

Thorax: Midge Black Zelon Dubbing

Tying Instructions

Step 1: Begin wrapping thread behind the eye and wind back to the bend. Tie in a strand of zelon for the shuck and trim to about one third the length of the shank.

Step 2: Wrap thread forward, stopping about one third of the way back from the eye. Tie in a strand of zelon with figure eight wraps for the wings.

Step 3: Dub a slightly shaggy thorax of zelon dubbing around the base of the wings, and then whip finish and trim thread.

Step 4: Sweep the wings backward and trim even with the bend of the hook.

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New for 2017: Double Barrel Popper & Slider Bodies!

Here is a new product that we are very excited about for 2017: Double Barrel Popper and Slider Bodies from Flymen Fishing Company. Many of us here at Blue Ribbon grew up fishing for bass, panfish, and other warmwater species, and we still love chasing those fish around when we find ourselves in their neck of the woods (we don't have them locally here in West Yellowstone, unfortunately). Believe or not, we've also been known to catch trout on poppers in local lakes from time to time, so don't sleep on them as a change-of-pace fly for big browns, rainbows, and cutthroat.

This video demonstrates how to tie a simple popper using these bodies, but feel free to mix and match different colors and materials to fully customize your bugs. They can also be used to create divers and sliders if mounted on the hook in the opposite direction, giving the tyer more options for creating the perfect fly. If you tie or fish bass, pike, or panfish flies, you have to check these out!

Here's the material list for the fly in the video:

Hook: Size 2 Surface Seducer Popper Hook

Thread: Black 3/0 Uni-Thread

Head: Medium Green Chartreuse Double Barrel Popper Body

Eyes: 4mm Oceanic Dragon Eyes

Tail: Hot Yellow & Fluorescent Chartreuse Krystal Flash

Legs: Chartreuse Grizzly Variant Neck Hackle & Black Saddle Hackle

Collar: Black Saddle Hackle

Rubber Legs (Optional): Black Medium Round Rubber Legs

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All Roads Lead Here

All Roads Lead Here

Photo by John Juracek

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Join Our Greybull River Pack Trip August 20-24, 2017!

Join Our Greybull River Pack Trip August 20-24, 2017!

Article and all photos by BRF fishing guide Patrick Daigle 

It is mid-February here at the shop; snow is piled up in every nook and cranny of town, with plow drivers scratching their heads calculating where they will put the next storm’s snowfall.  As we experience a brief warm spell to break the streak of storms, the warm sun has me thinking of the months ahead, filled with adventure into the greater Yellowstone region. 

Celestial events have always been fascinating to me, and because of that I have had my eye on 2017 for some time now. The idea of tying together a celestial event with a fly fishing trip has been a fantasy up until this past week, when we secured dates for this upcoming season's backcountry horse trip.  This coming August 20th through 24th, I would be honored to have you along on what is truly a trip of a lifetime: find yourself along the banks of the Greybull River in the Washakie Wilderness Area to experience four nights of camping, and five days of backcountry fly fishing for native cutthroat trout.  And as a bonus, on August 21st at around 11:40 am (barring any cloud cover), we will be treated to a solar eclipse of 99.62% totality at the campsite!!  Being only 14 miles from the shadow of totality, we will potentially (sans clouds) experience a total eclipse of the sun.  The last total solar eclipse of the sun within the contiguous 48 states was February 26th, 1979, with the next one arriving on April 8th, 2024.

This is a trip of a lifetime, gang.  I can already smell the cowboy coffee as I sit here in the hard winter months, reflecting back on pack trips of the past. The smokey August air, dust, and the bug spray even smell good.  On this trip, enjoy riverside camping with Wyoming Wilderness Outfitters as our host, 10 miles into the backcountry, of which we will ride in on mules maintained by the best cowboys around.  An impressive pack string will carry in our gear and food for our stay, being led by some of the best wranglers in the business.  As we ride in, trout can be spotted from atop the mules, only adding to the excitement as we ride past beautiful scenery up to camp.  Once we get to camp, top shelf breakfasts and dinners will be cooked over the fire each day, with a "to go" lunch being provided daily as well, so you will have no reason not to focus on getting after some quality fly fishing, with a possible nap here or there.  The Greybull River is one of the last remaining rivers in the lower 48 states to host genetically pure Yellowstone Cutthroat trout, making it a top trout river.

Fishing is pretty forgiving here. That being said, the Greybull provides a variety of fly fishing opportunities; from swift riffles where almost any fly works, to skinny side channels with spooky, sophisticated cutties taking only the right fly, the fly they want. This trip is for anglers of all abilities, but I will recommend having some fly fishing experience under your belt.  The option to hike miles and fish your way back to camp will offer some solitude for the energetic, and riverside access at camp can satisfy the more relaxed fly fisher's interests.  Opportunites for viewing wildlife and wildflowers abound, too. But perhaps the best thing about fly fishing is that all aspects of pristine native trout waters ultimately work together to take our minds away from the daily buzz of the real world. The last time I checked, the real world sure was buzzing… So join us this year on the 2017 Greybull Pack Trip to experience an amazing fly fishing adventure, with the very good chance to witness a total solar eclipse of the sun!!!  Bucket list material for sure...

Cost for this trip is $2650.00 per person. For more information or to book your spot, give us a call at 406-646-7642.

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Fall Treasure

Fall Treasure

Photo by Peter Scorzetti

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