Years ago my cousin Jay (who, at the time, lived in Seattle and fished a lot for trout in lakes) gave me some tiny midge dry flies to try that he had tied up. He called them hackled Raccoons. I didn’t know much about the fly but they sure worked well for me during the winter fishing season in MN/WI. His flies had a Zelon shuck with segment marks he’d made with a fine black Sharpie.
Over time my small supply of hackled Raccoons ran low and I set out to tie up some replacements. I found some online articles that mentioned the Raccoon as a lake chironomid pattern created by Phil Rawly. I suppose the hackled part was a variation by Jay and his fishing friends.
While I continued my quest on the interwebs I came across another midge pattern, the Lady McConnell by Brian Chan, that looked a bit more like Jay’s hackled version but used a tiny grizzly hackle feather to imitate the segmentation of a trailing shuck. I thought the shuck and the fancy name were both pretty cool so that’s what I’m calling it now.
These flies get chewed up when the fish start feeding on them but it makes it all the more fun to fish with them. Just carry a few extra.
Hook: I use Daiichi 1110 (Orvis Big Eye 4641) ring eye hooks but use whatever you like. This one is an 18 so you can see it but tie them down to 22s.
Thread/Body: I like 70 denier thread but again use what you like. The thread will be the body color so pick a color (black, olive, tan, red, etc.) that might look like the midges you’re imitating. Red thread has me thinking about another old midge pattern, Herters Blood Midge, that would also be worth checking out.
Shuck Part 1: Super Secret Midge Flash from Lund’s. Length is the same as the hook gap.
Shuck Part 2: Tiny Grizzly hackle feather. Length is the same as the hook.
If you don’t have this stuff, use Zelon and a Sharpie.
Overbody: Deer hair. I clip the hair tips off and tie in tips first (starting at the hackle spot) so the overbody tapers from thin in the back to thicker in the front. I put a drop of Sally Hansen’s over this part for a little extra durability.
Collar: Grizzly hackle sized to 1.5 of the hook gap.