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Anglers Covey Blog

Fishing the Chironomid

06/04/15 at 12:35 PM by Vince Puzick

Fly fishing some of our many reservoirs in Colorado this June?  Don’t leave home without some chironomid patterns in your fly box.


Mature chironomid pupa will hang vertically in the water about 6" off bottom without motion. Every minute or so, they will wiggle and then rest.  Brian Chan, a well-known Canadian entomologist, says that “the pupae swirl around in the water one to two feet off the bottom of the lake bed. During this process, they mature (for three to five days before they make their journey to the surface to hatch as adults.”


This explains why the first one to two feet off the lake bottom is often so productive, and also why trout often take chironomid pupa imitations deep in the lake when there is no evidence of a hatch on the surface.


Kenny Romero, Angler’s Covey guide, explains that chironomids wiggle, squirm, and jerk their way to the top in a very slow ascent. Romero suggests “I usually start fishing the chironomid just off the bottom and very slowly strip up with frequent rest stops. This mimics the real deal. When I get a strike, I generally stay in that area until the bite stops. Then go back to prospecting.”


Fishing the chironomid


Two key things to remember:

1)   The chironomid emerges from the bottom of the lake so determine the depth and then adjust your strike indicator accordingly to move the fly 10” to 24” from the bottom.  After you cast wait a good minute to allow the fly to sink before you begin your retrieve.

2)   After the fly has sunk, make your strips and then pause.  Get enough movement  so your strike indicator makes a wake on the surface. 

craven's jumbo juju


For June, Angler’s Covey guides like these chironomid patterns:


Jon Kleis and Jon Easdon go to the Jumbo Juju in a size 18

See a video for tying the Jumbo Juju here. See Charlie Craven's recipe and instructions for the Jumbo Juju here.


jumbo juju


Justin Brenner likes Chan’s Chironomid bomber in different colors

See the video for tying the Chan’s chironomid here.  




Juan Ramirez chooses a chromie by Phil Rowley as his top chironomid.  Recipe and instruction for the copper chromie.  

See a video of Brian Chan tying up Phil’s chromie here.  


crowley's chrome


Kenny Romero recommends a variety of red, black, brown and green color chironomids with varying colors of ribbing (gold, white, silver and black) in sizes 18 to 10.  When he ties them up, he uses “sparkle yarn or white, for the gills. Often times a simple bead ( white, black, metal, etc.  is sufficient). “


I use various curved and straight nymph hooks . I find that a slender body works best. The latest epoxy style chironomids with translucent finish works well. But I also have days where a thicker body thread pattern is the ticket. 


Come into the shop for our great fly selection or for the materials you need to tie up your own chironomids!



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