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All you need to know about Delaware River midges.

Posted on June 12 2018

I'm not a midge expert by any stretch of the imagination.  No-see-ums are bad news, you're on fire before you even know you've been bitten. Chironomids, on the other hand, don't bite, hatch in trout streams, taste good and can be tied and fished on size 16 and 18 hooks. Trout love'em. On my annual trip out west they are the mainstay of mid day fishing, hatching in 100 degree heat and bright sunshine. On the Delaware, however, it's a different story. What we have in the midge department are little white balls of fluff that trout eat with relish.  There is no way to tie one on a hook (my attempts look like a pumpkin next to a pea) and perhaps trout know it.

Started the day with an early morning trip to a riff on the BE.  Arrived about the same time the wind did and the water was soon covered with those little fluffy white things from cottonwood trees. Saw a few splashy risers and did a run through of my "splashy risers flies" without impressing a single fish.  Within half an hour there were at least a dozen fish rising within easy casting range none of which would even look at my flies.  Staring at the water in an effort to see what the trout were eating, I finally saw some of the cottonwood fluff lift off the water and fly away.  A Delaware River midge hatch.  What  did I do?  Reeled in and went back to camp to mow the lawn.

After the requisite nap I drove from Lordville to Downsville to Deposit and back to Hancock (some of the trip being wind aided) all without seeing a single rise.  At 7:00 pm with the wind on it's last legs, I returned to the scene of this mornings debacle and low, there were olives hatching and fish rising. The fish would not eat my olive (or any olive I saw floating on the water surface) so I went the hangy-downy route and was glad I did. Threw at rising fish for an hour and a half without a single refusal (just eats) until the last three fish I threw at all refused my fly.  Reeled it in on a successful last stand and drove back to camp with a smile on my face..


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