The Smidget

A versatile trout-tricker. 

Near the small town of Dillon lies one of the most productive tailwaters in the great state of Montana: the Beaverhead River. The Beaverhead is famous for its large trout and their sly, selective feeding nature. The sheer amount of bug life the river supports is reason for this careful, piggish behavior. I have witnessed countless episodes when five or six different bugs were present, and trying to match the hatch during these times can become convoluted. It is because of this feeding behavior that I create trout flies that can become imitations of a multitude of trout foods.

Born sometime in the 90s, the Smidget is a little bit junkie, a little bit attractive, and a whole lot effective. It has become my most trustworthy go-tofly when dealing with Beaverhead trout eating so many different insects. The Smidget works in the film, fished wet, or as a full-blown nymph fished with split shot.

Hook: TMC 2488H (wet fly) or TMC 921 (dry fly).
Thread: Flat 8/0 thread. Cream is best. Color it with a permanent pen if needed.
Tail: Appropriate color Antron; cream or white is used most.
Body: Whatever thread you’re using.
Over body: McFly Foam material. Colors: light yellow, chartreuse, pink, grey/olive, black. The list and imagination go on.
Hackle: Grizzly or light dun.
Head: Small tuft of McFly Foam folded back.

1. Attach Antron tail, and then tie in McFly Foam.
2. Pull and stretch McFly Foam, which helps manage it.
3. Bring McFly Foam over the top to form a hump.
4. Take extra McFly Foam out over hook eye and bring back to form a small head just in back of hook eye (I use the hook on a whip finisher to help with this step).
5. Add hackle, making three or four wraps, and tie off.

Tim Tollet has owned and operated Frontier Anglers fly shop in Dillon since 1980.