Midges In Moving Water
By Mark Bachmann
Midges belong to the order of diptra a family of two winged flies that contain pests such as house flies, horse flies and mosquitoes. However, midges are in the sub-order called chironomidae and they don't bite and go totally unnoticed by most humans, except for fly fishers. Midges have a three stage life cycle: larva, pupa and adult. Midges are small delicate creatures in all three stages. But midges are prolific and can account for about half of an average trout's diet. They are available year around in nearly every watershed, nearly every day. Rick Hafele disclosed (Get The Drift) that in an Oregon coastal stream chironomid larva made up 29% of the daily behavior drift.
Midges in rivers and streams are usually tiny, averaging sizes #16 to #20. Midge larva are simple worm-like creatures that have neither gills nor legs. Often the flies that replicate them are no more than thread or wire wrapped on a hook.
Midges have up to five generations per year. It is conceivable that in some rivers that several billions of midges might hatch per mile, per year. That is a lot of trout food to be had, and a lot of trout feeding that goes unnoticed by most angers.
Trout concentrate more on midges when other foods are sparse, usually when the water is cold during the winter months. But some trout eat midge larvae almost nearly every day and nearly year around.
Midges cluster on the surface when several males will surround a single female. During these periods a Griffith's Gnat fly can be most effective.
Spent midges wind up in back eddies and slower edge-water along with hatching midge pupae and pupal shucks.
Often the at-dark hatches that bring trout to the surface, but are invisible to anglers are midges