Beginner’s Fly Tying: White Miller Emerging & Emergent Variations

View our instructional video for this lesson above or on your YouTube Channel. Note that chapter markers are now available within the video.
Written instructions are also available below.

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Session Overview

At our July Beginner fly tying session we will be tying both a White Miller wet fly and dry fly. I chose these patterns for our Beginner class because July is the month when abundant hatches of White Millers occur on nearby waters (e.g. the Potomac River in Maryland/Virginia and Yellow Breeches in Pennsylvania). For this hatch, our tiers will learn two basic easy-to-tie patterns to “match the hatch.”

If you haven’t fished a full-blown White Miller (WM) hatch, you will have the opportunity in July. In the late afternoon and early evening, the nymphs begin their ascent to the surface, at which time the wet fly pattern can be used to fish for smallmouth, blue gills, etc.

White Miller wet and dry flies
White Miller Dry Fly — image credit: White Miller Wet Fly — image credit:

Later, just as the sun if fading, the adult WMs start coming off the water, mating within minutes in the air and shortly thereafter depositing their eggs upon the water for next year’s brood. This is the time to fish the dry fly pattern — when you try to get your pattern to be selected out of the thousands of real flies that are hatching. If you have a concern about not having these WM patterns tied by the time of the hatch, there are several reasons not to worry:

  • In general, the WM hatch begins early in the month near D.C. and proceeds up river over the period of several weeks, arriving near Shepherdstown, West Virginia, generally by the 3rd week of July (depending, of course, on weather).
  • Other light colored (white, cream) mayfly patterns can be very effective during the hatch, and
  • “Any day fishing beats any day of work.”

We will meet in Room 207 at Trinity Church at 7:00 PM on July 19.

By Don Fine