Chironomid Fishing Techniques
Chironomids undergo a complete metamorphosis, including a larva, pupa, and adult stage. Chironomids will live in the larva stage for up to two years before turning into pupa to begin their migration to the surface to hatch into adults. Trout feed on chironomid larva, pupa, and adults. However, chironomids are most often sought after by trout during the pupa’s ascent to the surface. Chironomid hatches occur year round, and are usually the first and last hatches of the fishing season. The most intense chironomid hatches occur in May and June, but that period seems to be fluctuating with the wacky weather patterns. Chironomids are available to trout throughout the open water season, and make up about 25% of a trouts diet. Any fly fisher who does not learn how to fish chironomids effectively will be severely limited in his/her possibilities.
There are many different ways to fish chironomid pupa effectively. The most popular technique involves a floating line and a floro leader approximately the same length as the depth of water that you are fishing on when fishing still water. On live water, the trout move around the pools, riffles and seams to follow the various stages of the hatch throughout the day. As the water temps rise towards the middle of the day the fish can typically be found at the head of the riffle, feeding just below the drop off.
There are a huge variety of chironomid patterns to choose from and some of my favorites are: Bobb’s 2 second midge, zebra midge, Jay’s Midge emerger, the midge madger, disco midge, cluster midge, skittering midge and the ever popular griffith’s nat, with a high vis parachute.