Discussion in 'Stillwater' started by Dead Drift, Aug 12, 2010.
I'll braindumb on the chironomid game for a six pack!
There are several problems trolling anything around: most notably, you row right over the top of any fish you hope will see your fly and most self-respecting fish will scatter when something casts a shadow above them, 2 there's not a bug in the world that travels in a straight line at specific depth and speed up and down a lake, 3 you typically don't have a rod in your hand when trolling and, 4 OK now you've hooked a fish what do you do? Drop an anchor? Drift into the shoreline or another boater while you try to play and net a fish? The beauty of fly fishing is that there is not one fly or technique that works 100% of the time. It takes experience, skill, knowledge and sometimes just plain old luck to achieve any kind of success at it. And just when you think you have it figured out, something changes and you feel like a rookie all over again. Observation, sharing information, reading, perseverance and continually working at it improve your chances but sometimes coaxing cooperation from the fish just does not come easy.
Just got back from another lake fishing trip to BC where the locals all fish exclusively using chronomids. Depth is the absolute key, even a fish finder is not 100 % accurate. Take forceps, secure them to your fly and drop the leader in the water until you find the bottom raise it 6"-12" and secure your strike indicator. Now that you have figured the depth, the next challenge is what fly. You can tell if the chronomids are active by the presence or lack of shuck casings on the surface. You can definitely determine the size by what you see. Color is determined by pumping the trout's stomach. Morris and Chan's book is outstanding!! Another tip would be to use a 9' tapered leader, add a small swivel, and then add the amount of tippet needed to get you to the bottom. Good luck.
Leader construction is a topic rarely discussed and I believe often misunderstood, especially by newcomers to stillwater angling - the comment above about a 9' leader terminated by a swivel to which is attached as much tippet as needed to approach bottom is an example. The last thing you want is several feet of tippet, especially of one diameter, below a swivel or splitshot to get your fly near the bottom. The deeper you fish, the more critical it is to build a properly tapered leader. Add a fly or two, a splitshot, a swivel, add a little breeze, then a strike indicator and a poorly constructed leader will lead to a very frustrating day on the lake. I actually heard one angler talk about how he tapered his leader from 5X to 0X because he thought 5X was thicker than 0X! Splitshot and swivels under indicators should be positioned no further than two or three feet from the fly. This means when fishing long leaders with floating lines (I'm talking 15' to 25' or longer), store-bought tapered leaders, typically 9' long, are only the beginning. I recommend buying tapered leaders ending in 0X or 1X, then creating the proper length by attaching tippet sections 1X, 2X, 3X, 4X, 5X etc. until the desired length is achieved. Simply attaching a long length of 4X, for example, to a 9' tapered leader ending in 3X will not turn your fly, swivel etc. over and it will all pile up at the end of your floating line, often in a tangle. You won't be fishing. I'm sure the pros, Chan and Rowley, discuss it with much more precision and technical expertise than this brief opinion, but I'm convinced proper leader construction is often overlooked. Even with deep lines, proper leaders are important. A dragon fly nymph or leech needs to be fished near the bottom: NEAR the bottom, not in it. Simply attaching a 9' tapered leader to a wet line and calling it "good" won't work as well as cutting the middle portion out, discarding the butt and discarding the often rotten tip section to achieve 3' or 4' max tapered leader. This allows the fly line to sink below the fly and the fly to swim just above the weed line where fish can see it. Another reason not to get too carried away with weighting wet flies. Let the line do the work of putting the fly in the correct position.
Re: fishfinders. The depth shown on the finder is the depth from the point of the transducer on down. If your transducer is a foot under the water and the fishfinder shows the depth as 5 feet, it is really probably 6 feet deep from the surface of the water to the bottom. I think with the Humminbird Fishin' Buddy 140c I use on my Scadden pontoon boat, the transducer is more like 2 feet under the surface.
I use the forceps method to set my indicator depth for just this reason.
Hmmm. I use straight six pound test fluorocarbon when I have to go 20-30 feet deep, with a small split shot about 3 feet above my fly. I set the indicator depth with the forceps method.
No, I can't cast it. I feed it out hand over hand, and then I back away from the indicator.
I do somewhat the same as this, although I'm very rarely deeper than twenty feet...mostly 12-18. Use 4 pound fluorocarbon, the forceps method (although my butter fingers really piss me off when I drop them in the lake doing this), a two fly midge (18-22) with the weighted one about a foot from the bottom, and these for indicators.......
Easy to put these on your line and adjust without damage and a lot of hassle. They simply "screw" down on the line and the "O'ring holds it in place. I toss the whole thing 15/20 feet from me without incident (usually) and kick away if I need to be further from the indicator.
If you are fishing that deep why don't you just use straight 6 lb fluorocarbon with a type V or VI line. A lot easier then fighting a 20-30ft leader..
When fishing that deep, I don't use a full sink, because I like to watch the indicator go under pure and simple as that. I also don't taper quite the way mention above but out of a boat I don't struggle to much to cast 20' of leader unless it is dead calm.
I love chironomid discussions.
We fished a chironomid hatch once on the Delaney Butte lakes up in CO, and it was straight crazy, we could not keep the fish off our hooks! The things were hatching and buzzing everywhere, loud buzzing, it was annoying, bugs everywhere! Same method as above, long leaders 1 or two feet off the bottom and slowly bring in line and then SLAM fishon... those were some great memories!
When the fish are eating chironomids deep, a wet line straight down is always good to try. Our experience is that usually one method fishing deep ususally works better than the other. For some reason the wet with a short leader outfishes a dry with long leader or vice versa. They usually don't work equally well. My only thought is that for some reason sometimes the fish want a little movement on the fly (dry with long leader - either naked or with an indicator) OR they want it dead still (wet with short leader). We start out with each and go with what is working best that day. Its a mystery. And it usually isn't even close, it doesn't take long to figure out which going to work that day. Another tactic with indicators and long leaders, 25' and longer, is to just leave the leader in the water and move the fly by working the fly line in a series of short false casts to re-position the fly to another location. Almost like mending the line to get the fly a little further away from the boat, a little to the left, a little to the right, etc. There's usually not much need to fish further than 20' from the boat, often closer. Fishing long leaders naked sometimes we just fish the leader straight down off the tip of the rod out of the back of the boat and wait for the little bit of leader you see to twitch or tighten up.
I had a "first" experience with chironomids earlier this summer. Fish were working a chiro hatch around weed beds in 6-10' deep. I rigged up a dry line/bobber rig to hang my bugs just above the weeds and fished it for 30 minutes changing depths, retrieves, and patterns every 5-10 minutes. Nothing. Switched to my intermediate line with an unweighted Chan's chironomid and got a fish on the first cast. And the second. And the third. Repeat. The magic that day was keeping the bug in the top 2' of water and giving it slow 6" pulls with long pauses. I'm sure the bug was fishing horizontally rather than hanging vertically but that's what they wanted.
And, of course, you were in the "zone", which is the most important element in any type of fishing. You may have the best steak in the county, but if the customers aren't in the restaurant, you ain't selling any beef. Nice job! For that type of chironomid fishing I like to carry super small indicators and "short bobber" fish, sometimes as close as 6" from the surface. You can also grease your leader to within whatever depth you want to fish and let the fly hang to that depth, when fishing shallow. Your story is another reason to make sure you have unweighted patterns in your box. We had other experiences this year: I think fish see a LOT of beadhead chironomids. We started tying midge gill style flies this year and found that this "old style" pattern sometimes was clearly preferred vs. white beaded patterns. Antron, midge gill, or white poly tied in figure 8 style with a little bit of a thorax instead of a bead in unweighted patterns look a little more natural and were preferred by the fish on more than one occasion. I started tying one "old style" fly for every beadhead pattern I tied.
I like to do all the above, the short indicator is great I found early in the year. I have done the 6" under many times. I also like the type 6 straight down the take is fricking amazzzing. I raley fish with a leader/tippet longer than 15'. I end up with a mess everytime.
Check out the following fly patterns and tie 'em in different colors.
Hey guys - hope you won't mind this fly fisher from Ontario, Canada butting in here! This is an interesting thread to me.
Personally, I enjoy fishing chironomids and leeches - and everything else that might entice fish to bite! I've never trolled a leech when fishing stillwaters. I'm either drifting in a boat, or fishing from the bank.
As far as chiros go, I use full advantage of having several different sink lines. I prefer to fish a tandem of three chironomids, all different patterns. I don't use a strike indicator, but fish chiros very slowly - or with a fast "twitch then let go for a few seconds and then another fast twitch."
If I see the tiny husks of midges on the surface of the water, and see some fish surfacing, I go to a floating line to fish chironomids up near the surface. When the fish are taking, it's a heck of a lot of fun!
FlyFishingOn Butt in all you want from Ontario, this site might say WashingtonFlyFishing.com but it is so, so much more and a majority of the posts are related in a such a way that that they are not strictly about Washington. Besides we always like to know who to track down in far away places when we travel. Welcome to the board.
Nice three letter first name starting with an I by the way.
Ira, thanks for the welcome and invitation to butt in . I also appreciate the reverse invitation to take you up on the invitation to track you down if/when I'm in Everett - I suppose if you can track me down, I'll feel welcome to do the same in return. Joking aside, I do have a client in Everett and hope one day to meet them and drop in.
I've found that it is interesting to learn about the "local" fly fishing practices that might be different from my own. It's amazing how much one can learn from what others do in far different areas. On a recent trip to Northern Ireland, I learned of different ways to tie flies and even unique patterns - and they work very well here too!
Us three letter first name beginning with I people need to stick together too!
It takes a mighty feeble mind to only spell a word one way!!! Besides that, Webster's is only one man's opinion.
Och aye, fer goodness sake! And a man's a man for tha'!