Copyright 2014 James Marsh
Midge Trout Fly
A midge fly is called a midge because of its small size. They are small, but they are not just small flies,
they imitate aquatic insects in the order Diptera, or two-winged flies. The midges that are an important
part of a trout’s diet are the chironomids, or members of the family Chironomidae. Most likely there is a
hatch of Midges going on right now in your favorite trout stream. That is because they hatch throughout
most of the year.
When hatches of larger insects are taking place, anglers usually ignore them because they can be a
little more difficult to fish than most trout flies. During times of the year when few other insects are
hatching, mostly the cold, winter and early spring months, midge flies are usually the most important
thing to use. Midges live in just every trout stream that exist. Midges can also hatch throughout the day.
Yes, they do hatch in warm weather as well, but as mentioned above, they are less important to imitate
due to the many other much larger aquatic insects that are available.
I mentioned that Midge trout flies are small, but I better add, very small. The flies you should use to
imitate midges should range in hook sizes from an 18 at the largest, down to as small a size as 26. Our
Perfect Fly midge fly patterns are available in hook sizes 20 and 22 only, which represent the best size
range for most species and most trout streams.
Midge hatches are also important in fly fishing for trout because the trout eat a lot of them. In other
words, you will have a lot of opportunities to hook a trout when you're imitating them. Trout eat the
midge larvae, pupae and the adults that usually hatch on the surface. Depending on water temperature,
midges are often multi-brooded. A species may reproduce several times in a season.
Midges live in slow to moderate flowing water, especially water that has a lot of silt, or soft bottom. Spring
creeks and many tailwaters have lots of midges. Slow water sections of many freestone trout streams
also have a lot of midges. They exist to some extent, even in fast pocket water streams. Some fly
anglers think because they are small, they only catch small trout. That is far from the truth. Large trout
will eat them just as well as the small ones. They can eat a lot of them in a short time with little movement
during a hatch. Elephants do eat peanuts.
The larval stage of a midge is a worm-like stage of the insect. It is slender but has noticeable
segmentation in the body. The head and thorax are not well developed and are not much larger than
the body of the midge larva. The great majority of them are various shades of cream, red or light green.
The red ones are often bright red and are called “bloodworms”.
The chironomid pupae are free living pupae that continue to move about during pupation. As they
develop, the thorax gets larger and a wing pad appears. Air, or gases inside the pupal shuck, helps the
pupae rise to the surface to hatch. It is during this time, the time the pupae are rising from the bottom to
the surface, that they are most subject to being eaten. Most are eaten in the surface skim.
Once the pupae reach the surface film, it breaks free of the pupal shuck and emerges onto the surface
of the water. Depending on many things, in many cases the adult midges are able to quickly fly away.
Imitations of the adults are fun to fish and since the angler is able to see the trout sip the emerging fly or
adult from the surface, the dry fly form of fishing is often the preferred method of fishing midge patterns.
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