I need help with Chironomid fishing

Discussion in 'Stillwater' started by Kaiserman, May 18, 2013.

  1. If you read my last post "I just had to laugh", it's obvious that I need to change my way of thinking.

    I've never fished with Chironomids, and was wondering if anyone here would be willing to give me a few "basic" pointers on where to start.

    I've been fishing for a while now, so I understand the concept, but I just don't know the depths, colors and type of indicator to use.

    This is what I do know (I think), but obviously feel free to correct me.

    They "typically" come out of the mud red or brown, get darker as they near the surface, and finding the feeding lane is the big trick. I should stay away from indicators that are like the 'Thingamabobber'.

    I need to know: What colors should I start out with (it seems that there are now 10 bazillion different ones out there now - and 10 more were just invented as I typed this...), what sizes, and at what depth should I start at?

    I would greatly appreciate any help! :)
  2. Thingamobbers work fine for chiro fishing is my first tip
  3. 1. Use slip strike indicator
    2. Tie on mids with loop
    3. Attach bottom fly about 18-24 inches below top fly, tie onto hook bend.
    4. Attach hemostat to bottom fly and drop to bottom, set indicator about 1 foot under water, so fly is 1 foot off bottom
    5. Remove hemostats
    6. Toss out combo and let sit about 60 seconds
    7. Three short strips and let sit
    8. Repeat until gets to boat, recast
    9. Can't go wrong with bloodworm on bottom
    10. Catch fish, pump throat
    11. If no action in ten minutes, change something, depth or flies or position in lake
    12. If not gettin any strikes, then put down rod after casting and grab something to eat, or look away, or generally not pay attention. Then you will get a strike and miss it. Cuss yourself and start dragging a damselfly nymph.
    13. If you really want to learn to do chironomids then next time you go out, bring only chironomids with you, to force yourself to do it
    14. I learned all this from reading posts for years on this site, there are a lot of smart fishermen on this site

  4. Wayne has it dialed in. I have had success at times with a slow hand retrieve, basically three inches or less a second. If you don't have a good slip bobber, a small corkie and a toothpick will work wonders. I have had good success in the past using small v-rib in a pale olive green, as well as a black snow cone with red or copper wire for the rib.
  5. Thank you Wayne, very informative and helpful. I especially liked #12.
  6. Thanks Wayne! That's more info than what I thought I'd get, good stuff!

    Two more questions:

    1. If fish are not "boiling" the surface, how for from the surface should the top fly be?
    2. Why a slip indicator? What advantage do they serve?
  7. Do you have any pics (or know where I can find) the v-rib pattern you speak of?
  8. All the above and buy a fish-depth finder and boat with a motor.

    The biggest handy cap I see in fly fishing on lakes is how many people only have toons or tubes. get something that can actually get you somewhere on big water and be safe so you can still fish when the winds come up. there is great fishing in a lot of big res. that are not your special regs fly fisherman covered lake a little bigger than a pond. OH YEAH, get a pee bucket for your boat!
    triploidjunkie and Irafly like this.
  9. #12 explains chiros for me. But the pendleton normally taste so good i forget about it
    NWstonefly likes this.
  10. I'd do every thing Wayne said except I'd tweak one little thing. For item number 3 I'd tie the leader for the bottom chironomid to the EYE of the upper hook. I rarely hook a fish on the upper hook as almost all of mine come on the bottom fly. It appears that tying to the bend of the upper hook is preventing the trout from getting the hook into their mouths.

    I suppose the way for me to test this theory out is to two rod and have identical setups with the only difference being the way of attachment of the lower fly.

    It seems logical as I use dropshot rigging when fishing for yellow perch as it prevents them from swallowing the bait.

    Just my thoughts and you can do different if you want.
    Irafly likes this.
  11. Last time out (not chironomid fishing) I split pretty evenly between top (dry) and bottom flies, with the bottom tied off the hook bend. Then again, the fish were feeding pretty aggressively and it didn't seem to bother them. I can see where tying it to the bend in a vertical presentation might results in some misses.

    The other downside, as pointed out in a recent thread, is that if you tie to the hook of a barbless fly it can slip off.
  12. You asked about colors so hopefully this will help.
    For basic colors start with black, olive, red, brown and tan thread bodies in sizes 12-16.
    By adding using different colors of ribs ( gold, silver, red etc) over the top of the basic colors the number of combinations are endless. Throw a coat of Sally Hanson's over them to given them a gloss and add durability.

    From there you can go to v- rib, mylar, super floss, frostbite bodies and change up the rib colors again.
    You can also go bigger, 8 and 10's or smaller down to 18's.
    After awhile you'll begin to find your favorites based on your successes.
    I'm sure other will add their favorite color recommendations as well.
  13. A fish/depth finder certainly is a plus, but I'm not sure you need a boat. I know a lot of excellent bobber anglers who fish from pontoons boats.

    I primarily fish stillwaters and bobber fishing with midge emergers is my least favorite tactic -- too bad it works as well as it does. Some guys I fish with use the technique most of the time, I use it as a last resort if fish are rising.

    The type of indicator (bobber) you use makes little difference. As long as it floats, you can see it and change the position on the leader, it will work.

    A friend taught me the technique and he would notice the smallest movement of the indicator that I didn't. You really need to concentrate on the thing... it's really, really boring to me... if you like watching paint dry, you'll like watching the indicator. But, it does work.

    All it takes is practice. A lot of practice. Wayne pretty much nailed the basics and SF the patterns. And really, beyond that, you just need to stick with it. I know that if I use the technique and struggle past the boredom I will catch trout using an indicator and midge emerger pattern... but I don't like it :p

    You can use a dry fly instead of an indicator. This at least gives you the allusion of dry flyfishing and sometimes, the trout will take the dry fly so you're covering two bases.

    (BTW: you can safely pee in the water. Human urine is sterile and won't hurt the fish in the least. The fish relieve themselves in the water all the time :))
    NWstonefly likes this.
  14. It's something you have to believe in or you wouldn't have the patience to stick with it, it works like crazy, when it's working, but doesn't work all the time... There are times when they just seem to ignore it and doesnt' seem to matter what you do. You have to realize it will eventually work, but it might take some time. If it isn't working, and you've tried everything drag a leech for a while then try again, especially if you see midges coming off.

    As far as strike indies go, years ago we only had pegged indies which work fine on short leaders but are a pain trying to pull the tooth pick out with 30' of tippet out and a big one on.....
    Love the quick release indies!!!! Get some, Waters West can ship you some if you don't have any locally.

    Don't forget to tie up some chromies as well.

    triploidjunkie likes this.
  15. My thoughts are chromies work in all situations and if person wanted to all they'd need is an appropriately sized chromie to "match the hatch".

    You may have a different idea about chromies but I've used them when black, brown, green and reddish chronies are emerging and caught fish.
  16. Most indicators are attached by making a loop in your leader, threading the loop through the indicator loop, wrapping it around and then tightening the loop. This allows you to change position of the indicator. I found you can use the same technique for attaching a fly at a spot on the leader and then moving it to another spot simply by loosening the loop and sliding the pattern where you'd like.

    It's the most I've learned from indicator fishing.

    Wayne Kohan likes this.
  17. Gene, any idea what it does that do to the strength of the line? I guess it's mostly the same as rigging a thingamabobber, just with a smaller eye.
  18. Yup, it is exactly the same as installing an indicator similar to a thingamabobber. I've used the system for many years and have caught a lot of trout on the sliding pattern. It doesn't effect the leader strength in the least. Primarily because it isn't really a knot but just a loop made with the leader/tippet material.

    If I'm in a hurry to install a secondary pattern for any subsurface stillwater presentation, I'll simply do so with the loop system. I use F-carbon tippet material so I don't know if there would be a problem with mono. The limitation is the size of the hook eye. If the pattern is very, very small the loop will not fit through the eye... depending on the size of the tippet.
  19. I once watched a "master" fly fisherman catch more fish than all others on the lake combined. My observation: He had a strike indicator that I believe was hollowed out a bit more to allow the leader and tippet to slide through easier. He than casted two bugs, the top bug was the larger for weight and the indicator right above it. He released line allowing the rather quick descent of the two bugs and began a hand twist, let it drop, hand twist, let it drop, retrieve.

    If you have read about chironomids you know of the struggle to reach the surface with many failures along the way that cause an immediate descent. He captured this struggle for life ordeal.

    Believe me, I have tried this method and can not get the two bugs to commit to descent as readily as the "master" did. Perhaps a heavier bug?

    This same method can be attained with a full sinking line right off your floating vessel but covers way less water and may spook fish.

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