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Mikulak Sedge
By Philip Rowley

When adult sedges are on the water there is one pattern I reach for more than any other - the Mikulak Sedge. In stillwaters this design has no equal. The Mikulak or Mitch's Sedge offers a superb profile both in looks and how it rides upon the surface. Stripped, it leaved a convincing wake easily duping any trout into believe it is a scampering sedge. The Mikulak is durable. Trout chew it for days with no adverse effects. This pattern also works in moving waters. A yellow Mikulak makes a great hopper imitation. Steelhead anglers might want to try waking a Mikulak across the tailout of their favorite run too.

real and imitation
The Mikulak Sedge was the brainchild of the late Art Mikulak from Calgary, Alberta. Art had watched trout gorge themselves silly on adult sedges only to have them refuse anything he threw at them. Spurned on by this challenge, Art felt there had to be some pattern out there that trout would accept as the real thing. In the winter of 1973-1974 art set out creating a suitable imitation, looking for a durable floating pattern that offered the right silhouette, size, and color of the natural sedges. Hundreds of designs came and went, most never seeing the end of Art's leader. During his crusade, Art decided that seal's fur would make the right body material. For the silhouette Art chose a staggered wing. He scoured the animal hairs of North America and Africa before stumbling upon the solution in the trunk of his car. Art's bother-in-law had shot two elk and they were hanging in his garage. Helping himself to a couple of 18-inch square pieces, Art rolled them up and threw them in the trunk of the car where they lay forgotten and frozen by the harsh prairie winter. He finally removed the elk swatches and tanned them in preparation for tying. In this dry tanned state the elk hair stiffened, perfect for what Art was looking for. He stacked the hair by tapping his hair stacker with only his forefinger so tips aligned maintaining the elk hair's natural curvature. After figuring out the sequence of elk hair and seal's fur, Art finally had the design he had been seeking. A clipped brown hackle at the front of the fly completed Art's sedge. Trimmed top and bottom, the hackle served as stabilizers and helped provide the distinct wake of the scurrying adults. In 1985 Art began using two sections of elk hair to form the wing. I still use the original three sections on sizes 8 and larger remaining true to Art's design on smaller sizes.

The only real trick to this pattern is getting the wing placement correct as incorrectly placed wings make the silhouette look unnatural and unbalanced. For the three-tired version I begin by tying in the elk hair tail along the entire hook shank. This way I can use thread pressure to control the flaring of the hair while adding floatation. I like my tails to be about the shank length. The wings should reach back about half the distance of the previous wing. Dividing the hook shank into thirds, tie the first wing just in front of the hook point, the second at the halfway point and the third about 1/3 back from the hook eye. Maintaining these proportions ensures a balanced, neat Mikulak every time. Be careful not to overdress the pattern by using too much elk hair. The overall sedge look is the sum of all of the elk hair. Better to err on the side of sparse than heavy.

Materials List:

    Hook: Mustad C 53S in the Signature Series, #6 - #10.

    Thread: Olive or green Monocord or 6/0 UNI-Thread.

    Tail: Natural elk.

    Body: Olive to mint green seal's fur.

    Wings: Natural elk tied in 3 sections along the body.

    Hackle: Brown saddle, clipped top and bottom.

Instructions - Mikulak Sedge:

1. Cover the hook shank with tying thread to provide a firm base for the elk hair. Prepare and stack a clump of elk hair. Tie in the elk hair just back from the eye along the entire hook shank. Use thread tension to control the flaring of the tail. The finished tail should be the shank.

2. Cover the rear 1/4 of the hook with seal's fur dubbing. The first body section should finish just in front of the hook point. Move the tying thread to the middle of the hook shank.

3. Prepare and stack a second clump of elk hair. Measure the elk hair so the tips extend about half way back onto the tail, pre-trim the elk hair at this point. Tie the elk hair in at the halfway point, again using thread tension to control the flaring of the hair. The natural curve of the elk hair should flow down the pattern.

4. Cover the elk hair butts to the halfway point with seal's fur dubbing. Advance the tying thread to the 3/4 point on the hook.

5. Prepare a third clump of elk hair in the same manner as the second. Cover the butts of the third clump with seal's fur.

6. Prepare and stack the fourth clump of elk hair. Measure the wing so it extends back about half way on the second wing. Do not pre-trim this clump. Tie the elk-hair stack in at the eye of the hook securing the elk hair back in place to the end of the dubbing.

7. Prepare a saddle hackle and tie it in place at the base of the third wing. Be sure to tie the hackle in with the dull side facing forwards. The hackle should be one size smaller than the hook as the bulk of the elk hair makes up the size difference. Cover the front 1/4 of the hook with dubbing.

8. Palmer the hackle over the front 1/4 of the fly. Make sure the first wrap of hackle encircles the base of the wind. Tie off the hackle and trim the excess.

9. Lift the remaining elk hair butts and build a neat head and whip-finish. Apply head cement to the hackle tie off point in addition to the head area. Trim the elk-hair butts out over the eye in the same fashion as an Elk Hair Caddis. Trim the hackle flush top and bottom.

How to Fish the Mikulak Sedge

When fished dead drift or with a hand-twist retrieve to run the fly across the surface, the Mikulak Sedge is deadly. Takes range from subtle to vicious depending upon the mood of the trout. Trout often attack a stripped Mikulak with reckless abandon. Try to scamper the pattern upwind as the naturals have a tendency to do. Trout will also try to swamp this pattern like the naturals. Hang tough; resist the urge to strike. The trout will return to leisurely sip the pattern down. I have had trout choose my Mikulak Sedge over a natural sitting close by on many instances. I have the utmost confidence in the Mikulak and I am indebted to Art's diligence in developing this supreme sedge pattern. ~ PR

Credits: From Fly Patterns for Stillwaters, by Philip Rowley, published by Frank Amato Publications. We appreciate use permission.

For more great flies, check out: Beginning Fly Tying, Intermediate Fly Tying and Advanced Fly Tying.

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