chiros vs. leaches... i need an opinion

Discussion in 'Stillwater' started by Dead Drift, Aug 12, 2010.

  1. Dead Drift

    Dead Drift New Member

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    does the effectiveness of chironomids outweigh the fun of trolling leaches around a lake? or are chironomids even that much more effective? I realize that season and the lake im fishing has something to do with it so im just talking about overall effectiveness in Eastern WA lakes. less rivers around means i have to start learning the lake game a little more i suppose...

    any info is good info! tight lines,

    -Connor
     
  2. troutpocket

    troutpocket Active Member

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    I don’t think trolling a leech around a lake is all that fun. I’d rather take a crack at reading what the lake is telling me in regards to weather, temperature, depth, structure, food availability, etc. then setting up a presentation that puts me into fish. But that’s just me. If trolling a leech is the best way to do that, so be it but it’s not something I usually do first. Since trout eat so many of ‘em, chironomids are often a good place to start, especially in the spring with the sun on the water.
     
  3. Dead Drift

    Dead Drift New Member

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    i guess i just need to do some more research and practice into how to read lakes like that. i can never decide where the best places to fish chironimids are or how deep to go with them, i think that might be the reason i have just stuck to leaches thus far, its a lot easier... i have tried chironomids at Pass Lake and other pretty well known trout lakes but have had almost no luck, and the ones i do get are basically dinks, like no bigger than 12". i think my new apprach might just be leaving the sinking line at home and strictly fishing chironomids until im halfway decent at it.

    thanks!

    -Connor
     
  4. Preston

    Preston Active Member

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    Don't limit yourself to leeches and chironomids. Callibaetis mayflies, nymphs, emergers and duns are highly effective throughout the spring and summer and even into the fall. Damselflies, both nymphs and adults, are a good choice throughout the spring and summer. Get a good book on stillwater fly fishing and learn what fish eat through the year. Even midges (chironomids) are not limited to pupae, fish will sometimes concentrate on emergers and adults when they are readily available.
     
  5. Dead Drift

    Dead Drift New Member

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    thanks guys, this helps a lot... i'll get to tying and experimenting!

    -Connor
     
  6. Tim Lockhart

    Tim Lockhart Working late at The Office

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    I've seen one or the other work better in different circumstances. But for me it's a life of ripping leeches around. Highly effective but not because of the fly. My game changed when I quit thinking about the bait and started paying attention to food sources and other conditions that would lead me to groups of active fish (what tp said). Find that and you can draw strikes on almost anything as long as you give it life in the water. >> Regarding chironomids, I hate them and don't use them. No question how deadly they can be at times but then again so is dynamite in a hatchery. >> Trolling is a good way to get into the game but the more experience you gain the less you should expect to do it. >> Finally, what Preston said...
     
  7. candr

    candr Daryl

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    I'm a diehard chironomid fisherman. This past weekend I was up at a lake that is over 5000 ft in BC. I started off fishing chironomids and showed a lot of fish located at 18-19 feet in 20 feet of water. I was expecting to catch a lot of fish just off the bottom. I tried many differenct chironomid patterns and picked up one fish over a couple hours. I decided to switch to my second favorite technique which is double anchoring on a shoal and casting a micro leech over the drop off. I use a floating line and a leader a few feet longer than the water depth I'm casting to. I let the micro leech sit on the bottom and either wind drift the line to impart a slight jigging action or slooowly strip the line in. I picked up fish immediately on black and on pumpkin head micro leeches. When I pumped the fish they had a few chironomids in them, a few scuds, some bloodworms, and no leeches. They didn't appear to be locked into any hatch but the leech technique worked consistently for 10 -12 fish per day for the four day trip. My conclusion is that you need to be able to mix it up - mix your presentation, your flies, and your location on the lake until you find what works. That's one of the reasons I love stillwater fishing - each time I go out I feel like I'm solving a new puzzle.

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  8. troutpocket

    troutpocket Active Member

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    Here are three books to get you started:
    Morris & Chan: Fly Fishing Trout Lakes
    Phil Rowley: Fly Patterns for Stillwaters
    Denny Rickards: Stillwater Presentation

    Spend a winter studying these and tying up some bugs that look good to you and then apply the info next spring. You'll be on your way.
     
  9. Kent Lufkin

    Kent Lufkin Remember when you could remember everything?

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    I fish lakes 90% or more of the time and have to agree with troutpocket - trolling a leech around isn't a terribly productive technique for me and even less fun. Instead, I try to 'read' a lake to see where fish might be. Rises are an obvious giveaway. But I also pay attention to inlets and the outlet as well as any structure in the littoral zone like tree trunks, rocks, springs and dropoffs that might offer fish cover while they wait for food to come their way.

    While I only occasionally fish leeches, I rarely fish chironomids. Yes, I know they produce fish (when that's what fish are feeding on). But to me, staring at an indicator all day long makes my eyes cross. I'd almost rather watch paint dry.

    Someone here has a signature that reads something like "90% of what fish eat is brown, fuzzy and 5/8" long." Instead of passively trolling a leech around and hoping a fish might hit it, I prefer to start with a smallish nymph or soft hackle that fits the above description and then cast it towards rises or near structure, wait for a moment or two for it to sink, and then retrieve. Instead of passively hoping a trolled leech will work, the cast-and-strip technique lets me methodically probe likely fish holding areas. And yes, I do it because it works.

    K
     
  10. Dead Drift

    Dead Drift New Member

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    when you guys fish lakes do you use a fish finder at all? I understand that i should be fishing stucture and all that good stuff, i just have trouble locating it i guess...

    and thanks for all of this is great info, im learning a lot. and Troutpocket... just orderd those books you suggested

    thanks for everything,
    -Connor
     
  11. Kent Lufkin

    Kent Lufkin Remember when you could remember everything?

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    I've tried a couple of 'fish finders' and frankly between the false positives and fiddling with the controls I spend more time with them than I do fishing. To me their best purpose is in determining depth. For actually finding fish, not so much. I think the process of fishing is as much about finding fish on my own as it is catching them, so my electronics don't get much use.

    Finding fish and the structure they often hide in isn't as hard as one might think. Unless water temps are so high that the fish hug the deepest parts of the lake just to breathe or aerial predators keep them in the depths, for the most part you'll find them in no more than 10-12 feet of water. Look for old tree trunks that stretch out into the water, large underwater rocks, steep dropoffs (where the water changes color abruptly) or inlet streams and then focus on fishing those areas first. If you see rises, especially concentrated in a certain area, start there before going anywhere else.

    That's not to say that you won't ever find fish out in the middle of a lake or down deep - there are no hard and fast rules. But in the dozen or more years I've been concentrating on lakes, 80 to 90% of the fish I catch are within a long cast of the shoreline.

    K
     
  12. ribka

    ribka Active Member

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    I fish BC quite often and fish finder valuable up there. Often I find the fish either suspended from 10-25 ft down to fish hugging the bottom at 30 ft. I usually use a micro leech with a soft hackle chronie trailer fly fished slowwww.


    Good advice from trout pocket
    Here are three books to get you started:
    Morris & Chan: Fly Fishing Trout Lakes
    Phil Rowley: Fly Patterns for Stillwaters
    Denny Rickards: Stillwater Presentation
     
  13. Irafly

    Irafly Active Member

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    I on the other hand do not find chironomid fishing boring but then I've always been a visual learner and watching an indicator dip under the water increases my heart rate at a might finer clip then feeling a strike on a leech. My problem of late as in the last few years is a stubborn reluctance to stick to chironimid fishing even when it wasn't working, constantly switching something, flies, depth, location, retrieval, something thinking it was just a matter of time before they ate my mid. Fishing with Troutpocket this spring really helped me work out of this rut.

    I do like your idea of just figuring out the chironomid thing until you understand it. If you are into hitting big number days on stillwater it is one of the best ways to do it when you figure it out. Your best bet and what worked for me was to hire a guide for a day who really knows there stuff. I hired Gordon Honey out of Kamloops, that guy is a stillwater god, who has worked with Chan, Rowley and Morris on more than one occassion. Or you could "hire" a semi-expert as in one of us from the board, offer to provide lunch or something and I'm sure we could work you into our schedule. For chironomiding lessons, spring is the best season, but if you just want to hit the water and experiment I'd be up for the challenge in fall.

    Ira..
     
  14. sroffe

    sroffe Member

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    There are a lot of great suggestions mentioned.

    I've done my share of dragging a nymph around a lake. If I'm fishing for more than a couple hours, I get tired of it, especially when nothing is happening. But, I like small flies. I really don't use woolly buggers anymore. I like mini leaches and micro leaches, plus I get a kick out of stripping a hares ear of sorts. What ever I have on my full sink, I will change my retrieve from fast to very slow to figure out what works.

    I have to say, the last time I was out, I spent a lot of time bobber watching while fishing chironomids and had a blast. I was catching fish while those who were stripping mini leaches or what ever weren't doing to well.

    Bottom line, I like to mix it up. Depends on my mood.
     
  15. Preston

    Preston Active Member

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    By the way: Leach is a verb meaning "to dissolve out soluble constituents (from ashes, soil, etc.) by percolation. Leeches are aquatic or terrestrial worms of the class Hirudinea.
     
  16. kvannice

    kvannice Member

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    You have to change it up troll,cast & strip at logs, down trees,rocks,grass lines, rises.Strike indicators are not just for chiros they have a lot of other uses.Wind drift, sink and retrieve. i use my fish finder just for depth , top water temp and the thermocline.
     
  17. Caveman

    Caveman Member

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    I have learned to use both, it all depends on what the fish are keying in on. Try a leach under an indicator and fish it like a Chironomid. Works great at times.

    Adam
     
  18. Robert Engleheart

    Robert Engleheart Robert

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    What sizes would be considered a "mini" or "Micro" leech? Other than size, is there anything particular about them?
     
  19. robl

    robl Member

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    I love stickin' fish and the fight. I catch many more fish on Chironomids in the spring than leeches, but in the fall the leeches will most often outfish the Chiros. I have discovered the magic of scuds this year and find myself fishing scuds whenever I can find an excuse. I make my own stillwater indicators that are light and awesome. I love watchin' that indicator go under! There is a lot ot be said for the savage take of a big trout on a tight line though! I just love to fish! Callibaetis can prove some rediculous fishing on a lot of lakes as well. Learn to do it all!
     
  20. JMitchell

    JMitchell Active Member

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    Carry two rods and do both. One rigged with your floater/indicator and the other with your intermmediate/full sinker. I do both and they each have their moments when you can't buy a fish on one and knock them dead with the other.

    Jarron
     

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