Hook: #18-22 Tiemco 101
Thread: Olive 30-denier Semperfli Nano Silk
Tail: Blue dun tailing fibers
Rib: Extra-small silver UTC wire
Wingcase: Black ThinSkin
Thorax: Adams gray Superfine Dubbing
Legs: Brown Senyo’s Shaggy Dub
Coating: Solarez Thin, Hard UV resin
Walter Newman, a young fly fisher and fly tier from Littleton, Colorado, grew up just about an hour from the banks of the famous South Platte River. His formative years were spent fishing and tying alongside his father, but he gave it up for a period of time in high school to focus on the ever-present distractions that grab the attention of most teenage boys; girls and sports.
During his college years, Newman found himself behind the vise again, trying to match the local hatches as best he could. He credits a combination of his South Platte River days as well as a trip to the Gunnison River with the impetus to develop the Micro Matcher, his first commercially available pattern through Umpqua Feather Merchants.
Newman says he had great success with both the tailwater favorite RS2 and the new-at-the-time, Pat’s Rubber Legs patterns. His desire to create a hybrid of the two seemed at first far-fetched, but after a lengthy design process, he finally settled in on a perfect mix of technique and materials to create a leggy Baetis nymph that is an accurate match for not only Blue-winged Olives, but can be tied to match a variety of other blocky-bodied mayfly nymphs as well.
I have to admit, when I first saw this pattern I mistakenly took it as a simple tie. As it turns out, it is a tough little bug to pull off correctly, mostly owing to the placement of the ultrafine Spandex fibers of Senyo’s Shaggy Dub that are used for the trademark legs. Newman believes the water-resistance of the legs causes the fly to whirl and flip about more like a natural. They also add a slight amount of movement in and of themselves. These tiny, little legs create a challenging aspect to what is otherwise a straightforward fly, but it’s these minuscule details that set a fly apart from the crowd.
The legs aren’t the only unusual aspect, either. Newman uses synthetic tailing fibers for the tail, but rather than tying them to length and splitting them, he ties them long and then cuts them off blunt to better replicate the thicker tail fibers of these mayflies. As a type-A guy, this particular step really sticks in my craw, but then I figured if John Barr can cut the tail/shuck off squarely on a Barr Emerger pattern, Newman should probably be given the same grace. Time will tell on that decision.
The abdomen is typically made from 70-denier UTC Ultra Thread ribbed with extra-small UTC wire. The color spectrum using these products is unlimited. For my version, I opted for olive 30-denier Semperfli Nano Silk thread ribbed with silver wire, as I really like this particular color for Baetis nymphs.
This thread is very narrow, and that doesn’t hurt when you get to the complicated legging technique.
The wingcase is a slim strip of black Thin Skin, though you could easily substitute a piece of medium Mylar or Holographic Tinsel in its place. The thorax is the tiniest wisp of Superfine Dubbing. The entire top side of the fly is finished with a dollop of UV resin to finish off the shape, and accentuate the silhouette.
The legs present a few difficulties, and I found I had to really slow myself down and focus to get the three sets placed both evenly and perpendicular to the hook shank. I did this by twisting a tiny bit of dubbing onto the hook to create a small dubbing ball, and then tying in a strand of legs with a tight X-wrap. Then I dubbed another small ball of dubbing to repeat the process. Using the smallest amount of dubbing on the thread helps a lot, and worked even better when I actually split the legs with dubbed thread, rather than bare thread.
Newman likes to fish either the beadhead option (he simply adds a 1.5mm radiant tungsten bead to the hook) or the original as the bottom fly on a two- or three-nymph rig, and counts the purple version of his Micro Matcher (#22) as his favorite size and color. He most often fishes the Micro Matcher behind a leech or stonefly in Wyoming, where he now lives. For his home tailwaters in Colorado, he recommends a more stealthy combination of a Higa’s SOS Nymph or Gunslinger May along with a Micro Matcher, and a midge pattern like a Jujubee or Top Secret as a trailing fly.
The Micro Matcher might give you a few headaches at first, but once you get the technique dialed in, it’s pretty rewarding to have a row of such realistic little critters living in your fly box. It’s a perfect project given our current circumstances.