chironomids: somethings not stirring the koolaid

Michael Thompson

the flavor of BADFISH
here is another woe is me, cant work a chironomid post. i have been trying them subsurface or deeper in the early morning, and off the bottom with T-14 in the midday and aside from a very nice rainbow at pass lake i have had no success. im thinking its the flys im using. i have several standard issue color combos but they are all around size 16 or 18. should i be using bigger ones or vice versa?:beathead::beathead::beathead::beathead:
I hear ya, I have yet to figure the whole chironomid thing out. I just caught my first fish with on a couple weeks ago. I guess I just lack the patience.

Michael Thompson

the flavor of BADFISH
another thing i was wondering; is a stocker going to hit one? it wasn't a big deal a few weeks ago but i have hit a couple lakes that should be teaming with under educated evolutionary challenged trout and i couldnt buy a fish


FFing and VWs...Bugs & Bugs
decoy, simple answer is yes, the stockers do hit chironomids. I got hits on them in size 22-28 on a local year-round lake last week. I was using a floating line with a 12' leader, no weight, no indicator, slooww, hand twist retrieve.

Ed Call

Well-Known Member
I have had success on stockers using larger chironimids and smaller ones. Small ones in the twenties large ones in the teens. I'm still learning this process, but it has been successful.


Ignored Member
Not a great mid fisherman myself and hopefully someone who knows more than I will chime in, but you need to match the size then the color. Usually there will be some mid husks in the water which you can use to get an approx size from and in some cases the color. From there it is a matter of finding where the fish are feeding at. What depth and where in the lake. Start with your fly a few inches off the bottom and work up through the water column until you find the fish. I use my forceps clamped to the fly to find bottom and set my indicator. If you have worked the entire water column in one spot and caught nothing, move.


Triploid, Humpy & Seaplane Hater
Having a large selection of sizes and colors will be a great benefit. During the day, multiple size and color bugs can hatch. What was the hot fly a few hours ago can turn cold.
Fishing two flies will also increase your odds. I generally like to start with a 12 and 16 and work my way from up or down from there. I like to pump the first few fish I catch and then periodically throughout the day. A stomach pump is a very valuable tool to have in my opinion.
Pumping fish to get the correct size and color is what will really help you get keyed in on the right bugs to fish.

Old Man

Just an Old Man
Your stocker fish tend to hang around just under the water. It takes them a little while to figure that they are not in a cement pond anymore. Then they will head to deeper water. They should provide good top water action for a few weeks. As they will hit just about anything you throw out there.


Tom Palmer

Active Member
Stonefish is dead on. You need a wide variety of colors and sizes if you want to be successful.

If you can get a friend or board member who is a dedicated chironomider to take you out one day it will greatly reduce the learning curve. I thought I knew a little about it until I started on week long trips to Canada and picked up stuff from the BC guys.

The standard rule is if you haven't gotten a bite in 15 minutes, change. Go deeper, shallower, new location, lighter leader, different flies etc... what makes it fun is every day is different. Get a throat pump and learn to use it correctly.

Keep at it and one day you'll be that guy everybody is watching catch all the fish.
Midges are hard. But I like them, Need to tie way more, I saw a freaken purple one emerging!!!. But a wide variety of colors is key. Alot of my midges arn't the right color but imitate the profile. But One man could spend yearas with all the colors of midges, so just carry earth tones and red colors to make it easy as you start out.

Michael Thompson

the flavor of BADFISH
thank ya fellars. im going to work on my variety at the tying table tonight.

and scott, the only chiromenid fish i caught this year was on a tandem rig. i have usually been doing tandems because i figure two needles in the haystack are better than one.
make sure your right off the bottom and if you cant get them to take other chironomid patterns throw out a blood worm. i have had luck when no other chironomids are gettin action by throwing out a small blood worm right off the bottom.

also a wise master once proved to me how important rigging your fly the right way is.

long tippet short leader (lets the fly hang straight down where as a long leader can belly the tippet thus your not fishing the depth you intend to)

loop knot to tie the chiro to the tippet (lets the chiro hang vertical no matter what your tippet is doing)

sloooooowwwww hand twist retrieve

Jay Burman

Fly Fisher, Bon Vivant, Layabout.
I do fairly well with Chiros. I have more sucess with the larger sizes 14-12. I think the most important detail is the presentation. I use a Rio Nymph line with a short 1' butt section and then just straight flurocarbon tippet. A tapered leader is unecessary for casting and the presentation is better with only the tippet, allowing the Chiro to hang straight down. I usually fish it about 1' from the bottom. It took a while to get the hang of it and I'm still learning, but the hardest thing was going against what I thought a knew.


still an authority on nothing
depends on the lake, but this time of year a #10 camel colored/flash rib/brass bead combo can kick ass.
not only are there monster midges hatching on the west side in some lakes, (adults are cream colored) but the stockers are susceptible to meaty flies. Thus the "magnum theory";)

don't believe me? try it.