Chironomid configurations

Discussion in 'Stillwater' started by IveofIone, Oct 24, 2012.

  1. I Googled "Chan's chironomids" and saw dozens of different patterns, colors and configurations and wondered how the hell you pick one? Some have tails, some have wings, some have a tuft out the front and the back, some are just white beads with a thread body and a rib, etc,etc.

    Where do you chironomid guys start in terms of size, color and shape when you get on the water? So often the advice is 'just put on a chironomid' or the answer to 'Whatcha usin?' is just "A chironomid" I would like to get a better handle on where to start. I read everything on here I can on cronie fishing and often catch a few but in reality I am just floundering and any hookups I get are just lucky accidents.

    Any enlightenment forthcoming?

  2. In my two chironomid boxes there are probably more than 900 that I have tied over the forty years that I have been using them. Different sizes, patterns, and colours, even then there are times when nothing in my boxes seem to work. Other times it does not seem to matter what is on the end of the leader, I guess that is why it seems to be so addictive to me. The one pattern that I have never seemed to have any luck on is the British Buzzer types. Maybe I just do not have enough confidence in them to use them for a long enough period. Getting your pattern down to at least 18 inches from the bottom is the key for me.
  3. I've never been a fan of watching a bobber, but I must concede that chironomid fishing can be one of the most successful methods for consistently catching picky trout. I agree with psycho that when they are not actively hatching, hanging close to bottom is important. If I'm fishing in relatively deep water (over 10ft), I gauge the depth by clamping my forceps on the fly and letting it down until it hits bottom. Then I just retrieve the line and have the depth pegged. I then choose my fly, drop down and begin a painfully slow retrieve. As for patterns, black or olive seem to work best for me, the less frilly the better. I've had good luck with emerging patterns on a floating line as bobber needed!
  4. Black, chrome (silver), red, and olive are the basics. Also blood worms. Size 12-16 on scud and curved-shank hooks. Some with beads, some without (unweighted). I also keep some size 10's and 18's on hand but only fish them a few times each season. In all honesty, while I'm confident using an indicator, I'm a pretty half-ass chironomid fisher. I hope some of the real gurus chime in on this one.

    The guys that really know the game are paying attention to the hatch cycles over days and weeks and know that certain sections of the lake tend to produce a particular size and color of bug. Weather changes can stall or jump-start hatches . . .there's quite a bit to obsess about if one were inclined that way.
  5. I usually start with a bloodworm on one line - size 12 , and a black with red rib- same size , on the other line . The first fish gets pumped , and then I go from there .
    triploidjunkie likes this.
  6. Good subject!

    Well IVE first I would like to point out that indicator fishing with chiro's is not a searching type presentation. to me it is more of a "once you have found the fish" type fishing method. Going to weed beds - drop offs - points - springs - creek channels and finding schooled fish is when this technique rocks. fishing flats is better done with a sinking line and bugger or other pattern working a lot more water faster. Many people that catch a lot of fish on chiro's with indi's already know the lake, they know spots and move from spot to spot until they find the fish.

    I will not fish a spot for more then 20 minutes without a take. fish finders are almost a must for good chiro fishing. My hands have been raw at the end of the day from lifting anchors and moving so much to find the fish - it can actually be a lot of work on lakes you do not know!

    As far as size and color - shape - I think we all are different. I know when I started researching chiro fishing I read they need to be "thin" like you mentioned. bodies with just thread and wire rib with just a touch of dubbing for a collar and white beads. I went as far as buying all kinds of "clear white" beads from bead shops thinking it looked more like air and would be more natural then what I was seeing with my research. they didn't work worth a darn and I tied a ton of them.

    Size = I start with a standard size 10 hook 2x strong. then I will go to a size 12 straight hook standard length 2x strong - and a scud hooked 2x strong #12. when I fish a fly below a #10 and the lake has gig fish I switch to a scud hook. big fish fight hard (16 inches and over) and when you get it a spot dialed in you can hook big numbers of fish so I like a bigger gaped hook for fighting fish faster and holding bigger fish better. this spring I just lost to many large fish
    18in and bigger with the smaller gaped #12 and smaller hooks. I was tying longer "thin" flies with # 12 2x long and 3x long thinking they would look better being thinner. scud hooks are much stronger and have a bigger gap - or grab more meat when you set the hook so when or if I go small I almost always use scud hooks at 2x strong, just my preference.

    Color = I only got into chiro fishing first to fish crane prairie rainbows. from my research many people would use #10 2x long hooks and the popular color was "red" I tied hundreds of flies in red and maroon with a #10 2x and 3x long hooks. some worked but not every lake is like crane, in fact very few lakes are like crane! after fishing east side and west side lakes and many different ones I came to realize the best color for me is "TAN" hands down no competition! I have also found over this year a dubbed body with small flashy tail and dubbed collar out fishes most any chioronomids I fish!

    I was at a eastern lake and saw the adults flying and caught a few and they were "fat" they had super fat bodies, now I had to figure that fat body did not come out of a needle thin pupa so the next trip I came prepared with fatter "dubbed" flies and creamed the fish, tied them on standard size #10 2x strong hooks and almost landed every large fish I hooked which was quite different to what had happened on the first trip over where I almost lost every big fish I hooked on the smaller gaped #12 - 2x and 3x long hooks. the adults were tan and brown so I tied a tan dubbed body with med. brown collar and white bead. almost ran out of them - it was the "go to fly" for the 5 day trip! on two western lakes I fish the tan chiro's in #12 are my best pattern. A different lake this fall - tan was the "go-to" can you tell there is a pattern to this!

    As far as other colors - to keep this under a couple pages I will just mention a few other I have success with.

    It seems "black and red" is hard to beat!

    If im going a full red body i like maroon with a lighter colored rib.

    In my opinion green sucks (LOL) I'm sure there are hatches of green and they will work but I still have not ran into one so have very little faith in green chiro's - black - tan and red are way more common on my west and east side lakes.

    The next favorite would be the chromie, chrome body, red rib and peacock hurl collar. this fly seems to work better tied in smaller sizes for me!

    I will also tie these same patterns with a dark bead. I have found on some "super clear" lakes they shy away from the white beads! Also my tan chiro's without white beads I believe imitate caddis pupa close enough to fool the fish. maybe why tan is my favorite color of chiro's. note: dubbing can change color when it gets wet so tie lighter colored tan bodies because they will darken when wet!

    blood and air in the bodies of the pupa give many chiro's red ribs so red ribbing can be key on many chiro patterns!

    Here are some of my tan chiro's - notice how much they look like a cross between a chiro and nymph! maybe why I call them the
    "no hatch indi fly" because they seem to work during - or without a hatch going on. also notice the sparkle tail on some and the difference in the gap of the scud hook and straight hook.

    I do not tie picture perfect flies and my pictures suck! but this is what I have learned when it comes to size and color! hope this helps!
    boise la grande trip 077.jpg boise la grande trip 074.jpg boise la grande trip 074.jpg boise la grande trip 070.jpg boise la grande trip 087.jpg MIDGEPUPA\'S 031.jpg
  7. Just the opposite for me. Buzzer, floating line, twilight, on the anchor and in the rod holder.
  8. I like that fly "ALOT" Bert, it has my "kiss" approach written all over it!

    KISS = Keep it simple stupid.

    Being a simple man - I love simple patterns and this one looks like it would "WORK" in many colors - thanks for posting!
  9. here's my favorite

    Attached Files:

    Irafly likes this.
  10. Ive:

    I have no idea why I pick one over the other but I usually go with a few favorites. It's kind of a hit or miss thing with me, not much science from this guy.

  11. I always stasrt with a size 12 on top and a 16 on the bottom. Generally a red one on top and 18-24" apart.
    I like to tie them on scud hooks as well as 2302's.

    I think if a person has a good selection of base thread colors in 12 through 16's, you'll be off to a good start. By base colors I mean black, brown, maroon, olive, red, tan and gray. Add different colors of beads and ribbing and the combos you can come up with are endless. Add in some flashy silver or red chromies, brassies, bloodworms and some 18's and 20's and you'll be off to a great start.
    You can also tie them in white and use a permanent marker to color them in the field.

    I also think fishing chironomids has a lot to do with confidence. I can remember when I first started out fishing them at DF and Lenice. What a humbling experience as everyone around me was catching fish. Thanks to their suggestions and input, I was finally able to start having good success. Stick with it and you'll be rewarded for your efforts.
  12. Mark that one looks like a white bead head soft hackle, I will have to tie a few of those to try.:D
  13. yep!!!
  14. mark those are nice! Do you think you could provide an SBS or just a recipe for the 2 whire beadheads you have in the vise? I'm a new tier and chironomider and would love to give those a shot the next time out.
  15. Thanks for all the enlightenment! I'm sure that not only me but many who have followed this thread have profited from the exellent responses and a special thanks to Mark for a thorough treatise on the subject. I needed to hear all that stuff and as a result I will have more confidence going forward with not only my fishing but my tying as well. I have looked at a lot of the 'mids in my boxes and decided to save the good hooks and crap can the rest. It's start over time.

    Thanks again, Ive
    Ed Call likes this.
  16. Ive, I know I'm a bit late here, but as a died in the wool, yet branching out chironomid fisherman I'd say you have stumbled on some great advice.

    My go to pattern for lakes are a size 12 black tungsten beaded mid with a black body and red holo ribbing wrapped with scud backing or coated with Sally Hansens (scud back is easier, but they don't quite sheen as nice), I also use white antron for gills above the bead. From there I pump and match. Most bugs I pump are black and the hemoglobin in their bodies give them a reddish ribbing. When the bugs are about to start popping then they start to take on the chrome color but they will often times take days to make this happen. In this time the bugs are better ribbed with a silver rib. Once they start to really get serious about popping that is when the chromy becomes king. Fish really like to key in on this stage when it is happening and if you miss it nothing else really works. This is a great pattern to fish as the fish rise in the water column to follow the hatch.

    I almost always fish size 12 or 14 scud hook mids, but I have found at times that when the fish are highly pressured or when a hatch has been heavy for a few days/weeks they will happily take size 18 bugs.

    During lolls in the fishing try throwing on blood worm or a balance leech.
    Mark Kraniger likes this.
  17. I have two boxes of "CRAP CANNED" chiro's and one prized "don't touch my shit" chiro box ;-)~ (but my friends always seem to get them out of me) We all need that "SPECIAL" box!
  18. Not to high-jack but what the hell is a balance leach? heard it mentioned a couple times lately and feel I'm in the dark - or on the out-side --- ? explain please.
  19. I am having good luck with level leeches-they can be fished under an indicator just like a cronie but you don't have to anchor up to be effective. Mine are tied on Mustad 32756 Aberdeen jig hooks and work quite well. Similar hooks are available from Eagle Claw and Gamakatsu. The link Ira provided will give you the basics and from there you can tie anything you like as a level pattern. They are fun to tie and fun to fish-a refreshing change from the same old same old.


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