The 'Hot-Head' Midge Pattern Causing A Storm On Both Rivers & Stillwaters

As the main Mayfly season is now drawing to a close, attention turns to the flies to use when the weather gets a little warmer - we can all dream!

Fishing for trout can be very tricky in the summer months, you will often visit the water and find that it looks devoid of any signs of life - this is when, if you are to have any sport at all, you will need to dig out those long forgotten nymphs.

And, don't even think of searching on Google for "summer nymph river", because the image below, and some which are much worse, will appear:

So, as Google is not going to help us out - as far as summer nymphing for trout is concerned - I thought that maybe I should write a few words on the type of nymphs and techniques which will work well - based on feedback/reviews from the thousands of nymphs our customers fished with last summer.

Let's concentrate on the two main water types, Rivers & Stillwaters:


When using nymphs on rivers, most anglers tend to choose the heavily beaded ones - favouring bouncing a nymph across the riverbed - I believe you need to do the opposite, i.e. use a very light nymph and fish mid-way in the water column.

During the summer months with low water levels and even lower flows, it is wise to head for the unweighted nymphs. These will sink much slower and can be manipulated whilst falling through the water.

This is especially successful if you can keep as much line as possible off the water, including yourself (if at all possible, don't wade), it is essential if you are fishing very flat-calm runs.

It is also worth mentioning that where possible, I always use fluorocarbon when fishing any fly under the water surface - this is especially important when fishing in slower runs and very clear water - the fish usually have lots of time to inspect any offering you will swing past them!

Use a long-light rod (I prefer a 10' 2wt), cast the nymph upstream and follow the nymph back with your rod tip, try manipulating the nymph by raising and lowering your rod, in an attempt to imitate the nymph ascending through the water column. Let the nymph swing past you and lower your rod until the line tightens and the nymph is directly downstream of you - this will often induce a take as the nymph will naturally rise up the water column.

A good technique to use on any stillwater (large or small) in the Summer months is teaming up a nymph with another style of fly - a deadly technique used in the USA during colder weather in both Stillwaters and Rivers ...

It seems that the trick to the technique is to use a heavier nymph or lure as an attractor, but then trail a smaller, lighter and more imitative nymph behind it - the theory being that the fish initially shows interest in the 'attractor' nymph/lure but ends up taking the smaller more imitative nymph:

For this method to work, the trailing nymph needs to have the following properties:

  • Fairly imitative
  • Lightweight
  • Have a uniform weight distribution - so they don't sink head-first; and
  • Incorporate some form of trigger point

By now you are probably one step ahead of me, and have guessed what's coming!

We put our thinking caps on and had a genius fly tyer (thanks Niklas you're a star) design some nymphs which exactly fit the bill - they're called Mercury 'Hot Head' Midges (they are perfect for both Rivers and Stillwaters at this time of year) and we're making them available to you today. Here's an example of just one of the colour variations included in our selection:

These Mercury 'Hot Head' Midges we originally devised by Pat Dorsey, a fly fishing guide, writer and co-owner of The Blue Quill Angler in Colorado, USA.

We've taken his original design and added a vivid red 'hot head' under the small glass bead.

As you will see from the nymphs above, these are stunning creations. Being a part of our Artisan range of flies. all of these Mercury 'Hot Head' Midges are tied on strong Ahrex FW451 barbless hooks in sizes 14 and 16, topped off with a vivid red hot-head under a 2.4mm glass 'seed' bead.

Our Mercury 'Hot-Head' Midge Selection includes 4 different colour variations (Black, Pink, White & Purple), we are supplying 2 of each nymph in sizes 14 and 16 (16 nymphs in total), shipped free of charge to anywhere in the UK, all for only £24, these nymphs usually sell for £1.75 each, giving you a 15% discount when buying the full selection.

We know these are not cheap flies, but you will be astounded at the quality - we can guarantee you will be climbing those trees to retrieve them! To view or buy our Mercury 'Hot Head' Midge Selection, click on any image or button in this email.

*** We've stocked up on these for the Summer - as we know they will be popular ***

Something A Little Different Today ... As we are on the subject of nymphing, why not learn tips from one of the masters in the art - Domenick Swentosky.

Domenick is based in the USA and runs a fantastic blog called TroutBitten - A life on the water:

Domenick has written a whole series of articles and produced podcasts on 'Critical Nymphing Concepts' - in fact there are literally hundreds of pages available on his blog. you can find them all here:

If you really want to get the low-down on nymphing it's worth searching the available articles, he covers lots of diverse fly fishing related subjects - I'm sure you will find something of interest.

Please Note: We have no affiliation with Dominic or the Troutbitten blog, we just think he's one of the good guys and boy can he fish!

Tight lines & have a great day.

P.S. The size 14 Mercury 'Hot Head' Midge in White bears more than a passing resemblance to a maggot!