My problem with Chironmid/ the problem with Chironmids

Richard E

Active Member
Try using slow retrieves with your bobber setup. Strip it in a foot or less every 20 seconds or so. Experment until you get results. Faster or slower - long pause, short, etc. Also try heavier weighted flies or non-weighted flies and see if one version works better that day (weighted flies will sink faster on the pause, where the non weighted will slowly descend - obvious I guess, but you are looking for the action that will trigger more strikes).

Or, get rid of the bobber and fish a full floater and a long leader. Try 1 to 3 flies with the top fly being an emerger and the bottom a bead head blood worm or other small chironomid you think will work. Middle fly should just be someting different (different color, size) than the other 2 (3 flies only allowed in normal regulation lakes - check to be sure you can use 3. Other lakes that are selective or FF only may only allow 2 or sometimes 1).
Cast that out and count down until it may be near bottom. Do a slow retreive with pauses again. Don't let any slack form, keep the line tight and the rod tip touching the water. If floating in a boat\tube - try just wind drifting assuming there is only a light breeze. If stronger breeze and\or 20+ foot water, use a sinking tip or sinking line.

Or, anchor with that sinking line in 20+ feet of water and just let the fly hang straight down inches off the bottom. You can kinda jig it a few times, then slowly strip it back up with pauses on the way. Again, use anywhere from 1 to 3 flies as allowed by regs.
iagree What Chad said; good stuff.


New Member
I know some people are going to answer this question that it is not boring catching fish, but I will ask the question anyway. HOW DO YOU KEEP FROM GETTING BORED. WHEN YOU ARE CHIRONOMID FISHING.... I mean no disrespect by any means, I just have a very hard time sitting and staring at an indicator. I think this is one of the many reasons I fly fish rather than sit and stare at a bobber or watch my line when the fish takes the power bait off the bottom and starts to swim away. Both of which I have done as a child, but now I just have a hard time. I would love to fish Chironmids, I just need help with the best way to go about it and not want to stab myself in the eye of out of being bored.
Please help.
Almost anyplace in eastern Washington you can get Rush on the radio. Get one of those little radio with ear buds.

It is really a bitch though when the chronmid hatch happens after his program.
S sound, take your forcepts and clip them on your fly, drop it down till it touches bottom(not to hard, I've lost forcepts this way), then place your indicator so your fly is bout a foot of the bottom. If your have somethin' agin' bobbers, just cast and retrieve(slowly). They are about 40% of a trouts diet in lakes, so you should learn to use them!
Don't be afraid to hang your chironies shallow to mid-depth range below the indicator sometimes. A lot of my fish through the years have been in the upper water column, especially when the chironomids are emerging and you see the tell tail dimples of surface feeding. To break up the bordom, definitely strip and pause the chironies more aggressively, you tend to get a lot more bites than letting the chironies hang with no movement for an extended period of time. I tend to fish a bead head Chromie as the lower fly and an unweighted frostbite pattern a 1' to 1 1/2' above the Chromie. The Chromie tends to out fish the frostbite 3 to 1. Learn how to tie Philip Rowley's Chromie, it is my favorite chironomid pattern.

Jim Wallace

Smells like low tide.
Ultimately, in lakes there is no avoiding the inevitability of learning how to properly fish Chironomids. I am resigned to my fate. :eek:

Jim Wallace

Smells like low tide.
509 That stuff ain't allowed in my local waters....sometimes you should try out your other hemisphere...I mean, its called the "right" side of the brain, so Im sure you'd like it. :clown: I like sitting on that side mo bettah when I'm fishing, anyway. Sort of like a vacation from the insanity.:beer1:
I used to get bored with chironomid fishing. Here are a few things I learned from better anglers than me.

1) 10 minute rule - if you don't get a take in 10 minutes, change something. If you are confident in your pattern, change depth first, then move.

2) Always fish a pair (or more) of flies to figure out what they want. If you are inclined, carry a throat pump and see what has been recently consumed. Don't underestimate stupid-simple blood worm patterns.

3) A lot of nymphs and leeches fish well under a bobber. Sometimes a micro leech or callibaetis nymph will pick up just as many fish as a midge.

Like Jim said, if you fish lakes, learn to love the midge.


-Marc Chapman, icthyoantagonist
Here's something you might try dangling below your chironomid.
Clicky Clicky

I've had some great luck with this concept (balanced nymph) tied up as a damsel pattern. Chirono fishing is all about confidence as well. I couldn't stick to it until one day when I had great luck. My confidence in the technique went up greatly and I can now do it for hours searching for fish because I know it works. I've had some great days with chironos, way outfishing others casting buggers & nymphs at the banks since the fish were keyed on them.

Here's something you might try dangling below your chironomid.
Clicky Clicky
I tie some of my steelhead wet fly patterns with the same technique, but with bead head resting below hook eye, so the hook turns upright to be more snag free instead of using lead eyes. I can turn the fly hook upright using less weight with this technique. I also think your hook up ratio is better with upright hooks compared to downturned hooks. It is also better for the fish because you tend to hook them in the upper lip more often,which is better for releasing the fish unharmed.I also tie some of my stillwater and saltwater steamers with the same technique.


New Member
509 That stuff ain't allowed in my local waters....sometimes you should try out your other hemisphere...I mean, its called the "right" side of the brain, so Im sure you'd like it. :clown: I like sitting on that side mo bettah when I'm fishing, anyway. Sort of like a vacation from the insanity.:beer1:
Understand "that stuff" ain't allowed in my local water....your west of the crest. But you guys have that "common sense" guy? Or at least what passes for common sense on that side.

I didn't say I had a radio when I fish....just said that if you have problems concentrating and staying focused when fishing chironmids just listen to Rush. If you like him you will stay awake agreeing and nodding. If you don't like him you will stay awake being madder than hell.

And if your Hillary Clinton you are wondering how he became your campaign manager!!!

Jim Wallace

Smells like low tide.
509, I can think of better ways to stay awake than to listen to that fatass asinine cokehead. i heard of a herd of operashun kaos sheep doing their master's bidding, poor fools...pathetic stuff, even then the "powerhungry lying warmongering beotch" only won by a thin "jackass margin."
Myself...I never, ever, no no no no never!!!! listen to talk radio. I have a life. My TV blew up a while back, and I'm not replacing it. Was an antennna feed,anyway...out in the garage...only got FOX 13...the "fluffmiester channel." Damn I'm gonna miss "House" and those bimbos on "2 1/2 Men." I could wind up a power tool and drown out the commercials.:clown::beer1: Did appreciate the "double doppler" though. Hey man... stay programmed!:thumb:
I thought the same thing until someone taught me how to do it correctly. You won't catch fish if you don't have the right type of Chrony. I you catch one pump the stomach and put on what you see. It will be non stop. I just got back from a trip where it was non stop action. Every cast was a hit, lost fish or a loanded fish. I landed 25 fish on Monday and lost 10 and had at least 40 takes in a bout 4 1/2 hours. Once you figure it out it is unbelievable. Trust me, find someone who knows how to Chrony fish.


Jim Wallace

Smells like low tide.
I might give it a serious try on Friday. Borrowed a little gem of a book by Jack Shaw,"Fly Fish the Trout Lakes," in which he demonstrates how to trim down some wet flies to look like chironomids.
I'm going to tie some up, of course, but I don't have all the named shizz required in some of the recipies, but I can fake it for now with substitutions if I have to.

I'll have to build up some long leaders, too, I suppose.

Went through all my back issues of Fly Fishing and Tying Journal and read all the relevant articles by Brian Chan and Skip Morris, and a good one by Carol Morris. Those, plus the info generously shared here should get me started.:thumb:

Ryan Francis

The fist time I had a fly rod in my hand it had a 14 foot leader and two chronnies, 5 minutes
later I landed my first fish on a fly rod, I was hooked. Since then I have I tried other methods on still water, but chironomids almost always seem to outfish those methods, most
nites I tie up 10-15, I litterally have hundreds upon hundreds of effective chironomids in my box. I had the luxury of learning how to fish them from a stillwater expert(he is on this board
but I will not name him)

Since moving to Montana, there is a small pond I fish by my house, loaded with worm and bait fisherman, I outfish them almost every time, now and then someone will come up and
ask what I am using , when I show it to them they just look at me and walk away..confused