Harvester Gilled Tubing Midge (with air bubble) by Dennis Stead

by Mar 9, 2019

Gilled Midge w/ air bubble

In this blog post, Dennis Stead shares how to tie a Harvester Gilled Tubing Midge (with air bubble). Recently, Dennis tied 24 midges in two hours on a size 20 TMC2487BL hook while attending the Hunting and Fishing Expo in Springfied M.O. So as Dennis explains, this is his Harvester Gilled Tubing Midge tied with an air bubble because it and the Midge’s swimming action helps to get them to the surface and the trout are custom to seeing it. Dennis strongly suggests reading Larry Wegmann’s article, Midge Life History, and Fly Fishing. Larry has been growing midges in his home and his wife has not thrown him out yet, according to Dennis. It was in his study, he noticed that some of his midges were green. Most times the midges had the same color of the Harvester midge pattern “Russ’ Favorite” shown here below.


Russ’ Favorite

In his article Midge Life History and Fly Fishing, Wegmann writes that Dennis Stead’s Harvester Midge is a perfect representation of the cuticle prior to emerging. He goes on to talk about how Dennis has been experimenting with silicone tubing to represent the cuticle. Wegmann states “Our fishing experience tends to demonstrate gills should be half the size of the bead. Gilled midges seem to attract fish the same as an un-gilled bead head midges. The advantage of the gill is catching larger trout.” If you would like more information on fishing midges, check out Dave Tucker’s article Midge Fishing Techniques.


Materials List:
Hook: Tiemco TMC2487BL size: 16, 18, 20
Glass Bead: Killer Caddis MDG Diamond (cc) color core
Gills: Glamour Madeira No. 8 Prism White (or materials of your choice)
Thread: UTC 70 White and UNI-Thread Rusty Brown 8/0
Head: Brass Bead Black Nickel 1.5mm or 2.0mm
Body: Stretch Tubing – Medium Copper (I also use Olive, Rust, Brown, Fl. Chart, Gray and Black tubing)


The following are the step by step instructions he uses to tie the Harvester Gilled Tubing Midge (with air bubble). If you would like to see the YouTube video, click the following link Harvester Gilled Tubing Midge (with air bubble). 



Step 1. and Step 2.

Step 1. Prepare the hook by mashing or removing the barb using pliers or other preferred method. This makes it easier to add the bead and reduces damage to fish in catch and release situations.
Step 2. Add the glass bead, this will act as an air bubble and then secure hook to the vise.


Step 3.


Step 3. Using White UTC 70 thread make base behind the glass bead, remove the tag end of the thread.Then spin the bobbin counterclockwise, this helps the thread jump over the Madeira thread used for the gills.


Step 4.


Step 4. Madeira number 8 thread is used for the gills that will extend out on each side. The gills are tied in behind the glass bead on the shank of the hook, wing style, using a figure-eight.


Step 5.


Step 5. Use a whip finish behind the glass bead and remove the tie in thread. Using your fingers pull the Madeira thread out to the sides to separate the threads. Then cut one side a little bit shorter than the other so you will know one is on the right and the other is on the left.


Step 6.


Step 6. Remove the hook and add a black bead, large end first. Replace hook in the vise. You will want the large end to push up against the Madeira and the glass bead pushing the gills forward.


Step 7.


Step 7. Next tie in your Rusty Brown 8/0 thread behind the black bead, remove the tag end of the thread. Make several wraps to build up a dam that prevents the bead from moving back on the hook shank. Tie off the thread with a whip finish and remove the thread.


Step 8.


Step 8. Next you will remove the hook from the vise and add a section of stretch tubing to make the body. The tube is hollow so the hook point is started at the tube opening and the tube then slides over the bend of the hook up to the black bead on the hook shank. This was cut a little less than a quarter of an inch. After tying up 12 to 24 flies, you will learn what length works best.


Step 9.


Step 9. Next tie down the back of the tubing using the Rusty Brown thread by making a few wraps on the hook and working the thread wraps up over the tubing along the bend of the hook. Then remove the tag end and spin the thread clockwise to tighten the thread fibers.


Step 10. and Step 11.


Step 10. You will now wrap the thread up the shank of the hook toward the black bead using open wraps to create a ribbing effect. This will squash the tubing down and will give the body a nice segmented look.
Step 11. Stop the thread behind the black bead and tie off using a whip finish and cut the thread.


Step 12.


Step 12. Recall before that you cut the Madeira shorter on one side so that one was longer than the other. Pull the Madeira thread to separate the gill thread fibers so they extend out on each side. Remember one side will be shorter than the other, if you see this, then it is correct.


Step 13.



Step 13. Next trim the Madeira thread fibers so that they are the size of the thorax or even a little bit smaller than the size of the thorax. 

The Finished Fly



On fishing the Gilled Midge, Dennis suggested that, “You can dead drift on a strike indicator.” In Larry’s Wegmann’s article, he said, “high sticking and watching the contact of the leader with the water surface while at the same time watching for the erratic swimming motion or white mouth to set the hook.” For more details on midge fishing, see Dave Tucker’s article Midge Fishing Techniques. 


Dennis Stead is the librarian and current President of MTFA Springfield, MO chapter. He has tied at the Bass Pro Shop, Branson Fly Fishing exp, and a number of other shows. He has fly tying videos posted on YouTube, and fly tying recipes on MTFA Web Site, Springfield.org. Dennis believes the more flies you tie the better you get. He likes to research and collect old fly tying vises and tools. His tying room is loaded with fly tying vises, tools, materials and stuff.  

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