Behind the Fly

Behind The Fly - RIO's Caviar Midge

RIO January 18, 2022

Your new go to midge pattern.

Rob Parkins has long been part of the RIO family of Ambassadors. We teamed up with Rob to bring you the RIO's Caviar Midge—it's an absolute beauty of midge dry—ready to school any trout. So, we sat down to chat with Rob in our latest Behind The Fly.

Tell us a bit about yourself.

I want to say I am many things, but to be honest, I am an angler. One of my first memories as a child was fishing with my dad when I was around two years old—been fishing with a fly rod for over 40 years. For the past 25 years, I have worked in the fly fish biz as a guide, manufacturers rep, fly shop, and outfitter manager. Currently, I am the Public Waters Access Coordinator for Backcountry Hunters & Anglers. Living in Teton Valley, Idaho, the heart of western trout fishing, I am spoiled with never-ending opportunities to fish for native and wild trout. Add in the long, cold, and snowy winters, modern air travel allows me to go places where I can make my life as difficult as possible while fishing the flats for Permit or swinging flies for Steelhead in the coastal rivers of the PNW. I started tying flies about 30 years ago, with the thought of saving money - damn, was I wrong. While pretty much every fly tied is based on someone else's design, my tying and fly patterns allow me to be creative while solving a perceived problem.

Where did you find your inspiration for the Caviar Midge?

I really like flies that sit low in the water, as I think trout see them as an easy meal. They also have a better silhouette from below. The problem, especially with midges, is that you cannot see them too easily. With the Caviar Midge and the white CDC wing, I can see it from a distance while the fish see the impression of a wing. Another key feature is the shuck made from flash, which, if you watch midges emerge, their nymphal shucks are thin and translucent, and the flash does a great job replicating that.

What's been a memorable day fishing this fly?

This will sound like a pure marketing pitch, but here it goes. RIO Products are so damn good because the employees are some of the best anglers in the world. My good friend Zack Dalton, Farbank sales guru and a true encyclopedia of knowledge on East Idaho rivers, lived in Idaho Falls while working at RIO and was the person I fished with the most, while also using him as a guinea pig for my new patterns. As I said, our winters are long, leaving plenty of time for fly design, and when the air temps warm up over 35, it is a great time to hit one of the forks of the Snake River and (potentially) have spectacular dry fly fishing. One February weekend, while we were out, it warmed up, and there was a wonderful midge emergence. Zack did not have any dry flies with him, so I handed him one of my prototype midge patterns to target the increasing number of Yellowstone Cutthroat Trout feeding in the shallows. I want to say we landed close to 25 fish that afternoon, all on that fly, and that is when the legend of the Caviar Midge began.

Favorite water to use this fly?

While it was developed on the South and North Forks of the Snake River, it is made for any river that has picky trout feeding on midges. The great thing about this fly is that it will work in riffles or other choppy water due to the buoyancy of the hackle and CDC. I have even tied it bigger, size 16, to imitate the "buffalo" midges you sometimes see on lakes.

Any advice on techniques for fishing the Caviar Midge?

Nothing special – your typical dry fly technique. Reach cast, drag-free drift, wait for it, set the hook. FYI, CDC does require powdered floatant, and your standard paste-type floatants will matte the fibers and sink the fly.