Chironomid confusion

LJ

Low Tech Lo
If you know me, you know indicator fishing is not my thing but early in the season it's kinda a must. A couple of weeks ago at the famous hidden lake, I tried finding the bottom and got my fly 6"-12" inches from it. Moved from deeper to shallower and all in between with no luck at all. Watched others nearby by hauling in 1 after another. We were all in about 12' of water. Later, debriefing with others, they said "they were taking them at 5-7'. There must be an exception to the 'just off the bottom' rule I've always been taught. Can someone please explain. Watching an indicator is challenging enough for me. Watching one that never moves is almost beyond my tolerance.
 

MGTom

Living at the place of many waters
WFF Supporter
The lake I was on yesterday was about that 12' depth. The jumbos were deep but few and far between. I could see a few rises midlake but couldn't cast that far and didn't have any dries. Started just shortening the leader figuring they were in the water column somewhere. I found them in about that 5-7' range. I experience that often and I think it has to do with how high and bright the sun is on the lakes I frequent. Along with otter and eagle/osprey fishing.
 

ronbow

WFF Supporter
This can be one benefit of "cheating" with a good depth/fish finder. It has told me that fish were cruising in that 5 to 8 foot level, and shortened up and bingo.
It is wonderful to think about catching them on dries, and it can happen. But emergers or as soft hackle can often get you into a lot more fish. And when you see those rises, that often means 'mids are close to the surface, and the 5 to 8 foot range will still be visible to the fish cruising the top, so try it. And this whole process is often fleeting as the hatch changes hourly.

Several days this year the mid depth has worked. Tuesday the blood worm on the bottom got a few, but the 'mid just above it did all the damage, 15 to 16 feet down in 17 to 18 foot water. 30 plus takedowns. FUN!
 

bakerite

Active Member
I have done well with a small elk hair caddis with a trailing antron shuck in evening rises. Just listened to a podcast where 6 well known BC guys were discussing stillwater fishing. They all agreed that finding the depth the fish were at was more important than the bug or even the method.
 

dp

~El Pescador
try a double chiro setup. one a foot off the bottom and one 2-4 feet above it.
that way to cover two depths.
Now, does color make a difference between those depths?

I fish next to Shawn Seager. he takes the whole guessing game away!
 

MGTom

Living at the place of many waters
WFF Supporter
try a double chiro setup. one a foot off the bottom and one 2-4 feet above it.
that way to cover two depths.
Now, does color make a difference between those depths?

I fish next to Shawn Seager. he takes the whole guessing game away!
When they are taking your swivel shorten that much! haha
 

cabezon

Sculpin Enterprises
WFF Supporter
I will start the day with chironomids just off the bottom. But as the day progresses, I will fish them shallower and shallower as the larvae should be working their way up in the water column. It helps to fish up to the legal maximum of flies (3 in general and selective lakes, 2 in flyfishing only lakes) which allow you to test severall depths simultaneously.
Steve
 
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bchapman

Active Member
If you know me, you know indicator fishing is not my thing but early in the season it's kinda a must. A couple of weeks ago at the famous hidden lake, I tried finding the bottom and got my fly 6"-12" inches from it. Moved from deeper to shallower and all in between with no luck at all. Watched others nearby by hauling in 1 after another. We were all in about 12' of water. Later, debriefing with others, they said "they were taking them at 5-7'. There must be an exception to the 'just off the bottom' rule I've always been taught. Can someone please explain. Watching an indicator is challenging enough for me. Watching one that never moves is almost beyond my tolerance.
One-foot off the bottom is a great rule and works all the time... until it doesn't. It's always a good starting point, but don't get wedded to it.

As stated above, a fish finder (even a cheap one) is helpful to see what level they are cruising at - even when the water is shallow and the cone, therefore, small. If you're fishing unsuccessfully at 12' and your finder shows one at 7', try that depth. Even without a fish finder... maybe you get a hit quickly after casting? The fish took it on the way down, so try higher in the column.

Also, once you've tried some different flies, it never hurts to try a couple of different depths before you move.

I don't know about others, but if I was "nearby, hauling in 1 after another" I would be happy to share intel with you (I expect most people here are the same). Don't be afraid to ask in a friendly way, the worst they can do is suggest you eff-off... in which case, they're just jerks who are "hauling in 1 after another" so screw them. ;)
 

Irafly

Indi Ira
WFF Supporter
I catch lots of fish under indicators, I have an entire arsenal of flies, retrieves, casts, earned knowledge, spider senses and most of all an entire lack of pride. I have zero issues with asking others for what they are doing, even if it isn’t working for them. I’m constantly eliminating variable.

This tends to be my pattern for changing things up:
1. Location within where I am anchored. Meaning I cast around my boat and use the wind to creat an arc pattern around me.
2. Retrieve patterns from the do nothing to the quick strip.
3. Pattern on my bottom fly.
4. Depth, this includes moving my indicator, but also with a dual rod endorsement, I’ll be playing the waters around me using a count down method with a type 5.
5. Pull up anchor!
 

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