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Chironomids

Post By: i2fly      Posted: 3/16/2023 10:37:20 PM     Points: 2182    
I get really fired up about this time of year. Now itís the right time to finish up your fly tying for the early season bugs. Leeches eggs SJs get it done but the star of the show are Chironomids. They are the most duplicated bug ever. I have so many that have produced lots of fish over the years. This one I tested late last summer. Itís a keeper! It fished very well August and September. I canít wait to see the bobber go down this spring.

I2
 Reply by: jibber      Posted: Mar. 17, 7:28:59 AM     Points: 19136
Nice tie! Looks just like the real thing. Looking at the natural I can see why Phil Rowley's old Chromie worked so well.
 Reply by: i2fly      Posted: Mar. 17, 8:45:42 AM     Points: 2182
This hatch lasts all year. But late in May is on! Chironomids will dominate for about 3-4weeks. They are the first major hatch in stillwater. There are so many versions of them tied by us because theyíre ten of thousands of different Chironomids from a sub #32 to a plus #6 hook and just as many colors.

As the chironomids metamorphosis from larvae to adult there are many different stages of development. Thatís why certain sizes and colors work better on one day than another. Chromies are shinny due to gas build up that helps them reach the surface. I think fish recognize this and will key on them. Red and blended colors of red and black, red and olive are also triggers for fish. Not to mention black with a silver or white rib can be extremely effective.

The depth that the fish are holding at could be another reason certain sizes and colors are preferred. I believe that the deeper you fish them the silhouette and size is more important than color. What ever chironomid is dominant at the fishes holding depth should be preferred. Just due to sheer numbers. This may change day to day as they hatch out and another subspecies takes their place. There will be several different versions pupating at once. That are in different stages of development at the same time. It takes chironomids 4-7 days to complete the process. Iím fascinated by bug entomology. Studying the bugs has made me both a better tier and fly fisherman.

Címon May i2
 Reply by: Troutbisquits      Posted: Mar. 18, 7:24:09 AM     Points: 1502
Nice i2! May just might be my favorite month to fish! I have some friends who are not all that excited about fishing under an indicator, but it brings me back to my childhood days of minnows under a bobber. That bobber down is exciting! Definitely will be working on some of those here soon.
 Reply by: nparker      Posted: Mar. 18, 10:03:48 AM     Points: 1403
Rick Takahachi has a good book on Chironomids. Modern Midges. Hundreds of patterns, mostly smaller river patterns. Rowley and Chan are the lake experts for sure. You will find the insects hatching in lakes when temps reach 50 degrees or so. They look like mosquitoes but have no stingers. They live on the lake bottoms all year. I think all lakes have them in Colorado. Fish under a bobber about a foot off the bottom.
 Reply by: eholm      Posted: Mar. 18, 11:43:15 AM     Points: 4464
Very cool! What kind of bobber do you guys use with those? And tippet?
 Reply by: i2fly      Posted: Mar. 18, 6:32:33 PM     Points: 2182
Nparker yes midges are the only bug found on every continent world wide. Iíve done a lot of research on them. They inhabit both rivers and lakes. There are even some that are poisonous even though they donít bite. Also there are varieties that are 2Ē long. We thought our buffalo midges were big. Lol.

To answer the other question. I use 3x mostly rarely do I go to a lighter tippet. One thing is these bugs can be deep like over 20í. For that you need a slip indicator. The indicator with the black plastic post through the middle. Otherwise I like the Oros bobbers or the airlock. I donít like the thingamabobbers anymore. Iíve had them wear through my leaders. The bobbers are 5/8Ē or 3/4Ē ? Just not the little ones. They canít hold up as much weight.

I2
 Reply by: i2fly      Posted: Mar. 18, 7:04:44 PM     Points: 2182
Nparker, actually I know Rick Takahashi. I talked to him at length during the fly fishing show last month. He was a featured tier this year. Heís awesomeÖ Itís funny that you mentioned him. Iíve copied his midges for years. I started out with the crystal midge. A friend had some and he was crushing with them. He gave me one and the rest is history. Lol. Fast forward to a few years ago I was working the booth for my friendís at Pyramid fly co. I ran into Rick and chatted him up for at least 1/2 hour. He ask me if I made any variants of his midge. I busted out laughingÖ I said of course buddy. Itís what I do. Anyway Iím addicted. Lol
 Reply by: Anteroman      Posted: Mar. 18, 7:51:13 PM     Points: 6489
Yes, i2s bugs work, I can attest to that. I met i2 as a result of a particular chironomid, that he developed for me, when another tying pro moved to Hawaii and stopped tying for me, itís been a mutual admiration society since then.
Agree also a slip bobber is required unless you have eight foot long arms and use a 96Ē net!

Seriously, though, the depth that the fish are feeding at on any given day, can be a game changer. I fish two rods from my pontoon on a regular basis and Iíll share again a method that works for me and will work for you as well.
Most of the time, early season chirono fishing, at Spinney in particular is best in ten to twenty feet of water. I typically fish three bugs under these situations.
One rig is set out from six to twelve inches off the bottom, the other I typically set at six feet or so from the top. Iíll usually let these sit for three or so casts and if nothing happens Iíll raise the deep one a foot and drop the high one a foot. Keep doing this until you find the depth they are eating at. When you find it set both at that level.
If nothing is happening it time to start changing the bug color or size, typically youíll see the bugs coming off which tells you what theyíre eating, and you can see the size. Very subtle color differences can determine success or failure.. Some days a red head, others a chartreuse, etc. people at times question why I have a couple thousand flies on my toon at any given dayÖ..I want to able to figure out what they want, then use it.
On leaders, especially on Spinney and Antero, I use x or 1x exclusively even in gin clear waters, these fish from my experience are not leader shy and you can release them much more quickly with the heavier leaders. I use 6# flouro for my tippet material, not the expensive stuff, buy a 300 yard spool at WallyMart and you have a years supply for nine bucks even if you fish 60- 80 days a year.
When you put your first pair of five to eight pound trout in you net at one time you will be addicted for life, GUARANTEED!

Tight lines and smooth drags, looking forward to a great 2023 season.
Bill

BTW, I had a personal best this past year, with 45 to net in two half day outings with seven double headers and thirteen of those fourteen to net, smallest was 21Ē and largest was 26Ē, keeps me going back!
 Reply by: i2fly      Posted: Mar. 18, 8:04:39 PM     Points: 2182
Nice little read:
[log in for link]
 Reply by: nparker      Posted: Mar. 19, 10:02:59 AM     Points: 1403
Yes, Rowley is the guy for lakes, Chan too. It can be hard to land a fish in a float tube with more than 9 feet of leader below the indicator. I like using the break away indicator that slips down to the fish or upper fly when landing the fish. A brand I like is the Plumbobber created by a local Fort Collins angler. The West Laramie Fly Store has them. A slow troll with an intermediate line will catch fish when the Chironomids are in the water column hatching. May and June are the best months maybe but I caught some fish on Chronomids yesterday. They are the only insect hatching now. Look for those little buzzers on the surface but they live on the bottom until they hatch.
 Reply by: Schalley      Posted: Mar. 19, 12:08:31 PM     Points: 8
Anteroman, how do you land two 26" fish at the same time ?!?!
Man, you must be changing flies constantly. Every three casts you change depth, and if nothing after raising flies, say six feet, you swap out colors and sizes? I always wondered how often to change flies. I can get so stubborn, and think, THIS fly HAS to work! And at the end of the day I'm face-palming, "Why didn't I try fly X?" I guess that's why you land 20 fish in 1/2 a day and I mutter to myself all night long...

- S
 Reply by: eholm      Posted: Mar. 19, 5:53:13 PM     Points: 4464
Great info and tips i2fly and Anteroman!

Anteroman, 6lb fluoro and no break-offs on all those big fish? That's pro!
 Reply by: Crit      Posted: Mar. 19, 9:19:11 PM     Points: 11
Nice looking chiros i2fly. I fish them in the high country for cutts mostly but am starting to fish SP lakes more for trout with them

Appreciate your input as well as Anteroman, you both seem to be dialed in

Need to get some slip bobbers and fish deep at the appropriate time. Seems like theyíre at your feet for the first weeks or so at opener

 Reply by: nparker      Posted: Mar. 20, 9:24:31 AM     Points: 1403
Changing depth is important, or I should say finding the right depth. Just use a weight or forceps on the bottom fly to find the bottom. Fish Chironomids about a foot off the bottom. Best to anchor your tube or boat. Water temp of 50 and above is best. Good luck.
 Reply by: Anteroman      Posted: Mar. 20, 11:21:14 AM     Points: 6489
Schalley,
I donít change out everything, normally the bottom fly only, most of the time my largest bug, a leech or micro midge, is first, then a buzzer style or regular chirono followed by another different color chirono. Typically and to help with tangles the top bug is the largest and heaviest, the bottom is the lightest and smallest but normally a #16 or larger.
Bill
 Reply by: team FMFO      Posted: Mar. 20, 7:07:49 PM     Points: 3446
Thanks for this post and ALL the info ! I can't wait to try all this out in my North Park Lakes at ice off and in May this year. :)
 Reply by: nparker      Posted: Mar. 21, 10:34:16 AM     Points: 1403
No need to wait for N Park. Local lakes are open and fish are eating Chironomids and baby damsels. Take advantage of the great weather cuz it will change.
 Reply by: team FMFO      Posted: Mar. 21, 12:07:21 PM     Points: 3446
^^^ I live in Estes Park and DON'T fish in the valley because of all the BS that goes on in the city. I'm fine waiting to get to the high country.


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