Spring Creek Midges

Contrary to popular belief, midges are not the Gods' curse on flyfishermen. Midges are not just any small insect as most anglers tend to group them, but are more specifically members of the family Chironomidae, within the order Diptera (true flies). While generally small, they do provide consistent action on most spring creeks and often times help save the day. Using a small larval or pupal imitation behind a larger caddis or mayfly nymph has produced many large fish for me on Wisconsin's spring creeks. Midges are often a good bet when there are fish rising but there is no sign of a hatch in the air.

Life Stage Patterns Notes
  • Fur larva
  • Brassies
  • Serendipity
  • Krystal Flash Larva
  • Mono Midge
There are many larval patterns and most all share one thing, they are simple. Commonly used body material are dubbing, copper wire, antron fibers, krystal flash, monofilament, and packaged tubing (midge/larva lace). I rarely fish these patterns alone but will very often fish them in tandem with a mayfly or caddis nymph (larva). Many larger fish will find the midge but ignore the larger fly.
  • Kimbal's Diptera Emerger
  • WD-40
  • Small Humpies
  • Foam or CDC Suspenders
The pupa can be found anywhere within the water column and is normally the most readily available stage to the trout. I will often fish these patterns with another nymph when fishing subsurface. When fish are rising but ignoring adult midge patterns, try fishing a pupa in the film.
  • Griffith Gnat
  • Simple One hackle
  • Palimino Midge
The adults are most commonly imitated by the Griffith Gnat which is used to imitate a cluster of midge adults. If it isn't working, try trimming down the bottom hackle so it will rest in the surface film. Tie these not only in the standard peacock body but also with just tan, cream, black, or olive thread. Single midges can also be imitated when clusters don't seem to be working.

Jason Freund, 1998 for Bob Blumreich and Silver Doctor Fly Fishing