If one earned a sentence to Trouter’s Hell, confined to fishing only chironomids, day in, day out, the larval phase would get the nod for numbers. Around here, most dangle them under bobbers at the lakes. But I get fidgety, my concentration focused down to the pinpoint of a tiny static bobber adrift & lonesome on the vast water (it always goes down when you look away), so I seldom do it, though I do get in a couple rounds of good surface fishing with midges (without a bobber) twice a year – a blood midge emergence at a small lake near my home, in the early season, late afternoons, then again in early fall, when emergences of large #16-#18 buffalo midges will get trout feeding on emerging pupae up top, on the river. If you see a lot of fish rising on midges chances are it is not the adults they are after, but the helpless emergers in the surface film. Blood midge larvae/pupa look like red worms, ¼ to 2 inches long (!) & a simple Gray Hackle Peacock with scarlet tail fished in the surface film kills when meeting an emergence – the scarlet tailing serving to simulate the trailing pupa. During emergence, the pupa retains its coloration until after the adult has completely emerged & water rinses the husk out, so tailing meant to represent the trailing shuck of one caught in the act of emerging should be the color of the living pupa. Other than straight scarlet for blood midges, I like natural or dyed mallard flank or guinea fowl in charcoal, olive & brown for others. Choose the softer feather barbs for these, about a dozen so there's enough bulk to simulate the trailing pupa when wet.
Biotic Midge Emerger
Hook: #18 Mustad 94842
Thread: gray UNI 8/0
Trailing pupa: olive mallard flank
Emerging wing: pearl midge flash, 4 strands, pulled over the top of the abdomen
Abdomen: tan turkey biot
Thorax: dark gray ostrich herl
Hackle: light brahma hen ~ & finish.