Chironomids - Where O Where have you gone!

Discussion in 'Fly Fishing Entomology' started by Mark Yoshida, Dec 23, 2012.

  1. Roger,
    I have read that chironomids are a year round menu item yet I am finding that the fish are not taking my chironomids at all for the last month and half. Do they hibernate or quit hatching at a certain temp?

    I see the fish down deep flipping me the fin as they go by. Being a slow learner, ok, also stubborn, I finally changed tactics due to lack of tugs. I went back to trolling and stripping a pattern and thus getting my fix but its not the same violent take I enjoy. The throat samples of these fish indicate no chironomids or other food sources than daphnia or maybe organic material that looks like mud or grass. Yesterday the surface temp was 43° but I am fishing in 30'-40' where it must be much cooler (will have to drop a thermometer next time I am up there). When the weather is cooler most normal things slow down and shrink in size.


  2. Hi Mark,

    It was nice meeting and talking with you at the Cavanaugh Pond Weed-Pulling Event earlier this year.

    Most trout food items are available (at least in some state of development) nearly year around. However trout tend to focus on whichever food item offers them the most nourishment, and for the least expenditure of energy, and at the least risk from predation. And, when those trout are in a lake (as opposed to a stream), a 4th variable is often introduced, that being the water column level at which maximum dissolved oxygen is present.

    As to your question about whether chironomids hibernate or quit hatching at a certain temp, they do not, at least to the best of my knowledge. However, when trout are focused on Daphnia, it would certainly not surprise me for them to totally ignore a chironomid offering.

    Hope this helps,
  3. Thanks Roger!
    It was great to meet and talk with you and your wife also. I hope we can do it again and hopefully fish some time. I will keep trying and be more flexible in my techniques and methods.
    Jeff Dodd likes this.
  4. Just for additional info.
    Prior to posting here to Taxon, I had sent this same question to Brian Chan. This morning he responded with the following. Guess I will go fish it today and try my luck in my less productive and nutrient lake.:)

    HI Mark,
    Best of the New Year to you.

    You are fortunate to be able to fish lakes year round. We are doing a bit of ice fishing just to get out on the water so to speak!

    Chironomids are able to emerge at all months of the year but this occurs in more productive or nutrient rich lakes in warmer climates ie New Zealand, Tasmania. Your observations of the most intense emergences occurring from April to July lines up with warming water temperatures. We typically see small chironomid emergences in the fall months ie Sept to mid-October but we are fishing much more productive waters than your Washington lake. I would think the water is too cold right now for any emergences on your lake. There will be many larvae developing in the benthic substrate of the lake from shallow to very deep water.

    You will have to live with fishing flashy leech patterns for now but at least you have open water.


  5. Another to consider is a bloodworm on the bottom. The larvae move around and also feed.
  6. Bill,
    In my year ( 77 days in 2012) of fishing this lake I have not seen a single bloodworm in the throat samples. You would think they would have to be there as part of the cycle.
    As suggested, I did fish it Friday with a flashy sparkle leech with great success.
  7. Mark, I've seen them in stomach samples over here in the Quincy area lakes in the March/April timeframe. Might just be they are more keyed into feeding in the bottom 12 inches then. I use a weight to situate the indicator so I'm right down almost on the bottom. My one "bloodworm" is a small 3xl hook wound with red wire and maybe an appropriate sized red silver lined bead.
  8. Mark
    Thanks for sharing the reply from Brian Chan.

    Last weekend after a very slow day I finally got a fish when I moved into shallow water, so I pumped his throat and found find Scuds and mud. As I broke up the mud with my finger I found bloodworms encased in the muck.

    Now on Lone in February I have had better luck with chironomids, but as you know, Lone is shallow and this may be the difference.

    Thanks again Mark
  9. I think they get smaller is all. Zebra's. Small Blood midges, shammy midges maybe
  10. Where did you get the bug crawling around, that is awesome!

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