When we’re talking about non-biting midges in the family Chironomidae, it means they are aquatic midges. They have several common names that vary by region, including lake flies, bay flies, muckleheads, muffleheads, blind mosquitoes, chizzywinks and (erroneously) sand flies.
I once had an opportunity to do some work in Durango, Colo., home of the Animas River. The Animas is designated “Gold Medal” as far as trout fishing goes. I brought my fly rod and couldn’t wait for the end of the day, so I could skip dinner and catch some trout.
Unfortunately, a gigantic midge hatch was happening when I finally had the opportunity to fish. The midges were so thick, I put a bandana over my nose and mouth so I could breathe freely. And the trout were so fat and happy with the hatch that I could not get them to go for anything I had in my fly box. When you have thousands of pieces of food around you, why would you go after something that looks even remotely artificial?
Thankfully, I did get a few chances to return to the Animas, and I can tell you it is an awesome place to fish. That is, except when there’s a ginormous midge hatch.