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True Fly Family Chironomidae (Midges)

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» Family Chironomidae (Midges)
Genus in ChironomidaeNumber of SpecimensNumber of Pictures
Chironomus00
Micropsectra20
Prodiamesa11
Rheotanytarsus16
Stenochironomus16
Stictochironomus111

193 genera aren't included.
Common Name
MatchCommon Name
****Midges
Pictures Below
Midges are the most important aquatic insects in some places, especially fertile spring creeks where they are extremely abundant and the current is so slow that it's efficient for trout to surface feed on very tiny insects.

Some midges are large, up to hook size 14, but the majority are size 22 or smaller. The number of genera and species is hopelessly huge for angler entomologists to ever learn, and the identifing characteristics often require slide-mounting tiny parts under high-powered microscopes. Even the most Latin-minded fisherman must slip back to the basics--size and color--to describe his local midge hatches.
  

Where & When


Regions: East, Midwest, West

Time Of Year (?): All year

Preferred Waters: All water, but most relevant in lakes and slow rivers


Hatching Behavior


Midges rise to the surface as pupae and struggle slowly through the surface film while the pupa's body dangles vertically below. This is the most common stage for trout to take, though the adults may be useful at times too.

Midge pupae account for much of the mystifying midsummer spring creek action on evenings when no bugs seem to be in the air or on the water, yet trout are rising everywhere and ignoring one's flies. Recognizing a midge hatch is far from a guarantee of fish, however. Suitable imitation is not easy.

Larva & Pupa Biology


Substrate: Usually silt or detritus (Detritus: Small, loose pieces of decaying organic matter underwater.)

Environmental Tolerance: Best in clear water

Anglers in on very fertile rivers, especially lakes and western tailwater rivers, often do well by imitating midge larvae.

Chironomidae Fly Fishing Tips


Despite the tiny size of midges, trout can be very selective to their size and color. Remember that a difference of a single hook size in the tiny sizes is a very large percentage difference and very noticeable by the trout. Netting some of the real insects before choosing a fly is surely a good idea, but it's easier said than done.

Pictures of 23 Midge Specimens:

Specimen Page:123
Male Stictochironomus Midge AdultMale Stictochironomus  Midge Adult View 11 PicturesThis midge and several like it, including a female I also photographed, hatched from larvae which were living in some fine mud I'm using as substrate in my bug-rearing aquarium.
Collected April 10, 2007 from Mystery Creek #62 in New York
Added to Troutnut.com by Troutnut on April 10, 2007
Female Chironomidae (Midges) Midge AdultFemale Chironomidae (Midges) True Fly Adult View 5 PicturesThis midge and several like it, including a male I also photographed, hatched from larvae which were living in some fine mud I'm using as substrate in my bug-rearing aquarium. This one flew away before I could photograph it on the ruler, but it would have measured slightly smaller than the male.
Collected April 10, 2007 from Mystery Creek #62 in New York
Added to Troutnut.com by Troutnut on April 10, 2007
Specimen Page:123

2 Streamside Pictures of Midges:

In this picture: True Fly Family Chironomidae (Midges). From the Beaverkill River in New York.
Date TakenMay 7, 2005
Date AddedMar 25, 2006
AuthorTroutnut
This is Troutnut.com's first picture of a springtail, a type of six-legged, non-insect arthropod.  It's riding on the surface film under the mayfly's left tail.  In this picture: Arthropod Class Collembola (Springtails), Mayfly Family Heptageniidae (March Browns, Cahills, Quill Gordons), and True Fly Family Chironomidae (Midges). From the Kuparuk River in Alaska.
This is Troutnut.com's first picture of a springtail, a type of six-legged, non-insect arthropod. It's riding on the surface film under the mayfly's left tail.

In this picture: Arthropod Class Collembola (Springtails), Mayfly Family Heptageniidae (March Browns, Cahills, Quill Gordons), and True Fly Family Chironomidae (Midges).
StateAlaska
Date TakenSep 4, 2007
Date AddedApr 22, 2011
AuthorTroutnut
CameraPENTAX Optio WPi

4 Underwater Pictures of Midges:

Underwater Photo Page:12
The white blotches on this rock are Leucotrichia caddisfly cases, and the wispy tubes are cases made by a type of midge.  In this picture: Caddisfly Species Leucotrichia pictipes (Ring Horn Microcaddis), Mayfly Species Ephemerella invaria (Sulphur Dun), and True Fly Family Chironomidae (Midges). From the Namekagon River in Wisconsin.
The white blotches on this rock are Leucotrichia caddisfly cases, and the wispy tubes are cases made by a type of midge.

In this picture: Caddisfly Species Leucotrichia pictipes (Ring Horn Microcaddis), Mayfly Species Ephemerella invaria (Sulphur Dun), and True Fly Family Chironomidae (Midges).
Date TakenMar 24, 2004
Date AddedJan 25, 2006
AuthorTroutnut
The strange tubes all over this rock house tiny midge larvae.  In this picture: True Fly Family Chironomidae (Midges), Insect Order Ephemeroptera (Mayflies), and Insect Order Trichoptera (Caddisflies). From the Namekagon River in Wisconsin.
The strange tubes all over this rock house tiny midge larvae.

In this picture: True Fly Family Chironomidae (Midges), Insect Order Ephemeroptera (Mayflies), and Insect Order Trichoptera (Caddisflies).
Date TakenMar 20, 2004
Date AddedJan 25, 2006
AuthorTroutnut
This isn't really an underwater picture, but a picture taken into my aquarium of midge larvae which lived in the silt I used for substrate.  Each larva has a little tower of detritus built up along the bottom, while the bare larva waves around from the top.  In this picture: True Fly Family Chironomidae (Midges). From Mystery Creek # 62 in New York.
This isn't really an underwater picture, but a picture taken into my aquarium of midge larvae which lived in the silt I used for substrate. Each larva has a little tower of detritus (Detritus: Small, loose pieces of decaying organic matter underwater.) built up along the bottom, while the bare larva waves around from the top.

In this picture: True Fly Family Chironomidae (Midges).
Date AddedApr 24, 2007
AuthorTroutnut
Underwater Photo Page:12

Recent Discussions of Chironomidae

Life cycles and hatches 3 Replies »
Posted by Leahdanger on Mar 7, 2014
Last reply on Mar 9, 2014 by Entoman
Hi,

I am trying to identify the life cycle of a few aquatic insects in eastern British Columbia. Specifically, I want to know if the species I collected in the fall (Aug-Oct) are a different hatch from the species I collected in the spring (April-May). Does anybody know when the following species lay eggs, die, and hatch: amphipods (Hyalella aztecha), chironomids, leeches, mayflies (Leptophlebiidae paraleptophlebia, Baetida sp.), and caddis flies (Oxyethira sp., Hydropsychidae arctopsyche)? For my purposes, knowing the general life cycle of amphipods and chironomids would be great.

Thanks much for your help!
Leah
ReplyClusters of midges and the Griffith's Gnat 27 Replies »
Posted by Troutnut on Apr 10, 2007
Last reply on Dec 11, 2012 by Oldredbarn
This is a spin-off from a tangent in another topic which seems worthy of its own thread.

I wrote about the midge I photographed:
I'm not sure how a griffith's gnat is supposed to imitate such a thing

Gonzo replied:
Schwiebert's theory was that when it was awash in the film, the herl and halo of hackle suggested the loosening pupal shuck around the dark body of the emerging midge. Others have speculated that it imitates a cluster of midges. Both theories are reasonable, I suppose, depending on the size of the Griffith's Gnat that is effective relative to the size of the actual midge. Like many anglers, I just know that it does work. :)

Those are the explanations I've heard, too, but I'm skeptical of both. I'm not doubting the effectiveness of the Griffith's Gnat; I just think people have traditionally stretched the bounds of credibility when trying to explain a fly's success in imitative terms, and this is one of the more prominent examples.

Has anybody here seen a cluster of midges on the water? I haven't. I have seen midges thickly grouped on rocks next to the water, and I don't doubt that they occasionally fall off of there, and probably sometimes two are three are clinging to each other. I've also seen early-season stoneflies balled up with each other in an opaque little (presumably mating-related) clump on a midstream boulder, and I wouldn't be surprised if some midge species do something like that too. But trout don't see balls of midges floating around very often on any stream I've ever observed. Has anyone experienced that?

In either case, I can't see something so opaque as a Griffith's Gnat effectively imitating what would surely be a loose ball of gangly entangled midges. You would have to roll them around in your fingers for a while to goo them together so solidly.

I just can't see the herl and hackle imitating, or even suggesting, a loosening pupal shuck. Shucks don't get that loose. They trail behind length-wise; they don't balloon to the sides. And they aren't pointy. Of course I'm sure Schwiebert knows all that and was just trying to add an idea to the mix of explanations, but I do find that one as far-fetched as the others.

Here's another far-fetched guess: maybe the hackle and refractive trickery in the surface film reduce the perceived thickness of the fly and it passes for a single midge pretty well. This could be tested in an aquarium but it's late and I'm feeling lazy.

I think it's more likely that when trout take a Griffith's Gnat they're only looking for (at most) the right general size and color. It's not as fun, but sometimes things are really that simple.
ReplyMidge Video 5 Replies »
Posted by JAD on Mar 4, 2010
Last reply on Mar 4, 2010 by Martinlf
I thing some members will like this video on midges.
http://www.midcurrent.com/video/clips/cutter_midge.aspx

Best

JAD
Replygetting midges down 8 Replies »
Posted by CaseyP on Dec 8, 2007
Last reply on Jul 31, 2009 by Wbranch
says here midge pupae rise in the water and struggle in the film to become adults. my imitations are so small that they don't seem to go down very far in order to rise--ike a wet fly might at the end of the swing. any ideas? or am i fishing them wrong?
Replyi need your help.. 1 Reply »
Posted by Aznaini on Nov 18, 2008
Last reply on Nov 18, 2008 by Taxon
hello friends..nice to meet you in this site...i'll further my study just around a corner..i need your help in sharing some information about Chironomus kiiensis.only a few information i can get about this species. i'll use this species in my future project..glad to here something from all of you..thank you.
Reply
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