Fishing Lake Simcoe's Midge Hatch for Whitefish
In May, large midge hatches begin taking place on Lake Simcoe and these little critters become easily available food for species such as Lake Whitefish. You may have seen these insects before, they are slightly bigger than a mosquito but don't bite and love to hover around your head. But like a mosquito it does deposit its eggs on the surface of the water where they absorb water and sink to the bottom. The eggs hatch in several days into the larval forms of the blood worm where it molts several times as it grows continuing its life cycle.
The hatch begins as midge larvae transform into pupae and emerge from the bottom of the lake and make their way to the surface of the water, transforming into an adult midge fly. On the bottom of a lake, the larval midge fly feeds on algae and detritus where they live in tubular holes in the sediment. These tubes at times can be seen on submerged stones or aquatic vegetation. Since the larval midge fly contains hemoglobin they can live in oxygen depleted mud. They can also live freely amongst the bottom debris or aquatic plants and at times venture into the water column where they are vulnerable to predators.
Adult midge flies are short lived after emergence from the water and survive for only several days for reproduction. They form massive clouds in the air where the females and males mate. As they make their way to the surface, the pupae become easy targets for Whitefish, and they get gobbled up by the thousands.
During the beginning stages of the hatch, you may notice whitefish are swimming higher in the water column and not scouring the bottom. This signals that they are feeding on emerging midge pupae and its time to throw on a midge patterned fly or a very small, dark plastic bait. A typical set -up includes tying on a small number 12 to 16 zebra midge pattern drop shot style about a foot or two above a small spoon, vibrato or any other of your favorite whitefish baits. By scaling down and incorporating a high hook presentation or something that mimics a midge emerger, you can definitely up your whitefish numbers. Give it a try this season and good luck!
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