McMurray Chironomid questions


New Member
Got out to McMurray mid-morning on Saturday, and kicked the float tube over to the SW corner of the lake where I've typically done OK on the planters. Tried the usual buggers without success, but noticed a lot of shucks on the water. I spent some time looking around, and finally found a couple of bugs hatching. I'm no etomologist, but they were sort of a zebra stripped bug that I tentatively ID's as some sort of chironomid. SInce nearly all the shucks looked a little old, the hatch had evidently come off some time before I got on the lake. There was no surface activity at all. I was considering a return trip this weekend, and getting out on the water earlier this time. I was going to swing by Patrick's some afternoon on my way home from work to get something that matched the hatch, but my question to the forum is if anyone has had any luck on McMurray fishing chironomids? I estimate I was in about 30' of water, but those shucks could easily have blown in from a shallower part of the lake. I don't know that I'm good enough to fish an indicator with a 30' leader, but I assuming my intermediate sink tip would OK fishing them with a tight line. At least reading what I can find online that would seem to be a reasonable technique in deeper water. Or maybe I start shallow with an indicator? Any suggestions would certainly be appreciated.

Ed Call

Well-Known Member
Do you have a full sinking line? I was fishing a lake in about 30-35' of water and struggling with an indicator. Another forum member, thanks Klint, turned me on to no indicator full sinking line fishing straight down. He said, locate your depth, get the fly there and hold on. WHAMO, the fish were hitting like freight trains. Having some white out to mark my fly line depth would be nice. Reading your post has reminded me that a small bottle needs to be added to my float tube pouch. Not sure about the bottom structure at that depth in your lake, but it could be worth a try to dangle some appropriately sized and colored chironomids there and see. I look forward to hearing how your next trip goes.


Active Member
My family has a place on the lake, so I've spend a fair amount of time out there. Its pretty deep for the most part. Average depth is around 30-40' which is difficult to cover with a fly. This time of year most of the hatchery plants and even some of the holdovers are in the top 8'. Fishing off the bottom usually doesn't pick up until the water warms up some (late June). Ive never had much success fishing the depths of the lake with a fly, but I've seen some of the locals pull out impressive sized fish during the summer using bait off the bottom.

The lake gets some strong chironomid hatches, however I've never noticed the fish really keying in on them. I've had good luck this time of year with black chironomids (#14-16) about 3-5' under an indicator. Even caught at 4lb Largemouth on a #14 chironomid out there doing this. If your looking to fish on the bottom, i would use the method Mumbles describes. There is a lot of water to cover out there. I would recommend a depth/fish finder if you really want to explore the lake. Good luck.
I fished Sixteen Lake last Saturday morning. There was a midge hatch that started shortly after the sun hit the water. Fish were flying out of the water, apparently taking the midges sitting on top of their shucks waiting for their wings to dry out (saw some float by my tube). My technique (not using chironomids) was successful, so I didn't attempt to use chironomids, but was tempted by all the aggressive feeding going on. Maybe I will use chironomid techniques the next time.

I'm sure you will hit the hatch if you get there earlier.

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