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Midge Dry Flies

Midge Fishing Fly Patterns

The only type of aquatic insect that can hatch virtually all year round, midges make up a large part of the diet of lake trout in particular. Although they are most often fished on still water, midge dry flies can also be used to great effect on calmer streams and rivers, and even tidal estuaries, and should be considered an essential part of any angler’s fly box.

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More about Midge Fishing Flies

The word ‘midge’ is somewhat of a generic label, and one that is applied collectively (and sometimes rather arbitrarily) to thousands of different insects from often totally different species. It probably doesn’t help that even within the ‘official’ midge family (Chironomidae) there are both aquatic and terrestrial species, and that they found in both fresh and salt water. There are many thousands of different types worldwide.

Nonetheless, the term ‘midge’ does serve as good catch-all name for smaller flying insects that:

  • are most common on and around still (or at least slow) water;
  • are particularly seen at dusk; and
  • often appear in large swarms.

Although midges do make up a sizeable part of trout diet all year round, the insects’ individual sizes (they can be very small) means that fish are not prepared to expend much – if any – energy eating them. Instead, they prefer to ‘sip’ them gently from the surface where there is not much of a current flowing, such as pools and backwaters. This means that when trout are rising to take ’emergers’ from a midge hatch they will make little to no noise. They will rise gently, and it is common to see their back and tail break the surface as well as the head.

The stillness of the water and the slower actions of the feeding fish mean that casting with is a more delicate operation, and beginners can struggle not to ‘spook’ the trout until they can perform at least gentle, if not precise, presentation. However, once the correct technique is achieved, midge dry flies can yield great results on almost any day of the year – including the depths of Winter.

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