Midge

Common Names: Midge, Chironomid
Scientific Name: order Diptera, often the family Chironomidae

There are so many midge species that it would be irrational to try to catalog them. However, a few general statements can be made.

There are river-dwelling and lake-dwelling species, but their emergence is similar: the larva (which is worm-like) changes into a pupa, and the mature pupa rises to the water's surface. For a midge that's the rub: since midges are usually very small, the surface tension is a barrier to the pupae and they hang suspended and vulnerable right at the surface. That is where trout often take them--just below the surface.

Because midge pupae often hang just below the surface for long periods, the current will eventually concentrate them into backeddies and current seams. You can also find them in slow, flat runs, and sometimes even in fast water.

Midge pupae face the same hurdles in lakes, but the action can be almost anywhere. Lake midges can be much bigger than your typical river midge. Some are best matched with size 10 or 12 hooks. Despite that large size, however, the natural insect is still very slender, a fact that fly tiers need to be aware of.

Adult midges form mating swarms, and midges locked in amorous embrace often fall back to the water. Trout are not romantics and will eat these mating clusters, so a dry fly such as the Griffiths Gnat, Renegade, or even a very small Elk Hair Caddis will sometimes take trout.

Midge hatches can be tricky to match. Because so many insects hatch at one time, trout become very selective, and you need to carefully match the size, color, and appearance of the natural insect. Because there are so many species, this can be difficult. When fishing in a river, seine the current and examine the seine for pupae, emerging adults, and shucks of the natural insect; match the size and color. In lakes, you can often find shucks and hatching midges on the surface. Again, examine carefully and match the size and color.

LARVA COLOR: Shades of black, brown, tan, cream, red, or green; translucent

PUPA SIZE: 2-20 mm (1/16 to 3/4 in)

PUPA COLOR: Shades of black, brown, tan, cream, red, or green

ADULT SIZE: 2-20 mm (1/16 to 3/4 in)

ADULT COLOR: Shades of black, brown, tan, cream, red, or green

OTHER CHARACTERISTICS: Larvae are slender and worm-like. Adults have only two wings.

Click on the fly name to see the pattern. Click on the presentation to learn how to do it.

STAGE PATTERN SIZE/
COLOR
PRESENTATION WHERE
Larva Blood Midge 10-18
Black, gray, olive, red, creams, browns
static midge, deep midge, slow retrieve, shallow nymph, indicator, tight line Lakes, rivers
Herl Midge 10-18
Black, gray, olive, red, creams, browns
static midge, deep midge, slow retrieve, shallow nymph, indicator, tight line Lakes, rivers
Brassie 10-18
Brass, green, red
static midge, deep midge, slow retrieve, shallow nymph, indicator, tight line Lakes, rivers
CDC Bubble Brassie 10-18
Brass, green, red
static midge, deep midge, slow retrieve, shallow nymph, indicator, tight line Lakes, rivers
Pupa Queen Jane 10-14
Black
static midge, deep midge, verticle retrieve, shallow nymph Lakes, rivers
Banded Midge 10-14
Black and red, black and pearl
static midge, deep midge, verticle retrieve, shallow nymph Lakes, rivers
Bloody C 10-14
Black, gray, olive, red, creams, browns
static midge, deep midge, verticle retrieve Lakes; backwaters and slow sections of rivers
Phantom Midge 10-14
Pearl
static midge, deep midge, verticle retrieve Lakes
Maggies Midge 10-16
Black, red, olive
static midge, shallow nymph Lakes, rivers
Shipmans Buzzer 10-18
Black, gray, olive, red, creams, browns
static midge Lakes; backwaters and slow sections of rivers
CDC Shipmans Buzzer 10-18
Black, gray, olive, red, creams, browns
static midge Lakes; backwaters and slow sections of rivers
Goodmans Buzzer 10-18
Black, gray, olive, red, creams, browns
static midge Lakes; backwaters and slow sections of rivers
Chans Chironomid Pupa 10-22
Black, gray, olive, red, creams, browns
static midge, deep midge, verticle retrieve, shallow nymph, indicator, tight line Lakes, rivers
Chironomid Pupa 10-22
Black, gray, olive, red, creams, browns
static midge, deep midge, verticle retrieve, shallow nymph, indicator, tight line Lakes, rivers
CDC Midge Emerger 10-22
Black, gray, olive, red, creams, browns
static midge, deep midge, verticle retrieve, shallow nymph, indicator, tight line Lakes, rivers
Glass Midge 10-22
Black, gray, olive, red, creams, browns
static midge, deep midge, verticle retrieve, shallow nymph, indicator, tight line Lakes, rivers
Herl Midge 10-22
Black, gray, olive, red, creams, browns
static midge, deep midge, verticle retrieve, shallow nymph, indicator, tight line Lakes, rivers
Serendipity 10-22
Black, gray, olive, red, creams, browns
static midge, deep midge, verticle retrieve, shallow nymph, indicator, tight line Lakes, rivers
Syls Midge 10-22
Black, gray, olive, red, creams, browns
static midge, deep midge, verticle retrieve, shallow nymph, indicator, tight line Lakes, rivers
Deer Hair Chironomid Pupa 10-22
Black, gray, olive, red, creams, browns
static midge, deep midge, verticle retrieve, shallow nymph, indicator, tight line Lakes, rivers
Yarn Midge 10-22
Black, gray, olive, red, creams, browns
static midge, deep midge, verticle retrieve, shallow nymph, indicator, tight line Lakes, rivers
Coves Pheasant Pupa 10-22
Brown
static midge, deep midge, verticle retrieve, shallow nymph, indicator, tight line Lakes, rivers
Lil L Pupa 10-22
Peacock
static midge, shallow nymph Lakes, rivers
Hern Worm 14-16
Brown
deep midge, indicator, tight line Lakes, rivers
Rainy Day Midge 8-14
Black
deep midge Lakes; backwaters and slow sections of rivers
Emerger Paraloop Queen Jane Emerger 16-22
Black, red, olive
chuck-and-sit, standard dry fly Lakes, quiet sections of rivers
Flashy Gnat 16-22
Black, red, olive
chuck-and-sit, standard dry fly Lakes, quiet sections of rivers
Whits Stillborn Midge 16-24
Black, red, olive
chuck-and-sit, standard dry fly Lakes, quiet sections of rivers
Shuttlecock Midge 16-24
Black, red, olive
chuck-and-sit, standard dry fly Lakes, quiet sections of rivers
Paraloop Queen Jane Emerger 16-24
Black, red, olive
chuck-and-sit, standard dry fly Lakes, quiet sections of rivers
Adult Sprout Midge 10-22
Black, gray, olive, red, creams, browns
chuck-and-sit, standard dry fly Lakes, rivers
Renegade 10-22
Black, gray, olive, red, creams, browns
chuck-and-sit, standard dry fly Lakes, rivers
Griffiths Gnat 10-22
Peacock
chuck-and-sit, standard dry fly Lakes, rivers