This is an effective dry fly, a simple and easy pattern to tie. I cannot lay claim to it, it is one of Tom Sutcliffe’s that I have become hooked on.

In Tom’s words – The Single-feather CDC Midge has been a revelation in simplicity and effectiveness. It was designed to fool trout feeding selectively on net-wing midges in Western Cape streams, hatches known to produce difficult risers where it’s easy to get skunked. I now feel more confident fishing these hatches, which counts for something, although the pattern is a long way short of being a panacea.

The effectiveness of this little fly is not confined to the Western Cape, but has been used on streams throughout the length and breadth of South Africa with success. Tom has also used it on a number of the chalk streams in the UK with good results.

Apart from the original intention to imitate hatching net-winged midges, it is a good searching pattern because of its buggy appearance and the movement that the wispy CDC hackle fibres impart – it looks and moves like a living insect, the triggers that count. For more information on the Single-feather Midge, it is fully covered on page 154/156 of my book, South African Fishing Flies co-authored with Ed Herbst.

Although there is a preference for dun-coloured CDC for this pattern, Tom has also had success with some tied with a dyed black CDC feather.


Hook – Tiemco 103BL or Grip 11011BL in #16, but it can be tied down to #18.

Thread – White or beige Gordon Griffits 14/0 Sheer or similar.

Post – Orange poly yarn.

Tail - In effect there is no tail to this fly, as is the case with the natural adult midge.

Body - A single natural dun-coloured CDC feather.

Ribbing - None

Hackle - One or two turns of the same CDC feather used to make the body of the fly.

Tying Steps

  1. Dress the hook shank with tying thread.
  2. Tie in abright orange post about 2 to 3 mm behind the eye in order to leave space to trap the tip end of the CDC and to form a head.
  3. Attach the CDC feather with two loose turns of tying thread over its quill. Then pull the feather through trapping the fibres until just a couple of millimetre of it remains before tying it in firmly and trimming the excess. Take your thread to just behind the base of the post. (These steps are shown in Pictures 1 and 2 below without the post having been positioned for clarity purposes.)


Picture 1


Picture 2

4.     Complete the abdomen by making close wraps of the trapped CDC around the shank to a position just behind the post and secure the CDC feather at this point. (Picture 3 – abdomen complete and remainder of the CDC feather ready to be wound around the post to form the hackle)


Picture 3

  1. Make a maximum of three turns of the CDC feather around the base of the post, hold the end of the feather quill over the shank in the gap behind the eye, tie off and trim excess. Whip finish with a neat head, trim the post and you are done. (Picture 4)


Picture 4


Peter Brigg

September 1019

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