If you ever plan to do any sort of lake fishing, it’s in your best interest to become as knowledgeable as possible about chironomids. And if you’re cheap like me, learning how to tie these flies can save you a decent chunk of money. The patterns are quick, easy and inexpensive to tie.
A few of my favorites are:
Chironomids, like the caddisfly, go through a complete metamorphosis: egg, larvae, pupa and adult. After hatching from the egg, the larvae bury themselves in mud/rocks at the bottom of a lake where they slowly begin to gather nutrients and grow. Eventually, the larvae will build small casings for themselves to live in until they’ve reached the pupal stage.
At this point they break free from their casing and make their way to the surface to finish their life cycle. During this process their bodies produce a gas which allows them to float to the surface. This gas is what creates a shine to the pupa and is the reason why a lot of chironomid pupa patterns use floss or tinsel as the body.
The chironomid pupa also has a distinctly segmented body, which is something to be considered when tying chironomid patterns.
Most people fishing lakes key in on the ascension stage when the chironomid pupa is making its way to the surface. The bugs often hatch by the thousands and fish can get their fill by cruising beneath the surface of the water and gobbling up hundreds of chironomid pupa.
Because chironomids are so abundant in lakes, it is also effective to hone in on the larvae stage by dropping a larvae pattern near the bottom of a lake to grab the attention of fish that are keyed in on chironomid larvae. Early spring and late fall are ideal times to fish chironomid larvae patterns as the major hatches have not yet begun, or are already over.