Do you really want to have more success when you are fly fishing lakes? Lakes offer some tremendous opportunities for fly anglers and often, bigger fish than are typically found in small rivers and streams can be had. Even large ponds can hold some big old brutes of fish.
Although many anglers when fly fishing lakes will use traditional patterns such as Woolly Buggers, leeches and wet flies, often overlooked are chironoids.
This is a shame as chironomids are a large part of a fish’s diet in lakes. In North America, there are over a thousand varieties of these midges that don’t bite. They are also found in rivers and streams but are especially effective in stillwater fly fishing.
If you would like to have more catches when you visit lakes, it would be to your benefit to get to know more about chironomids and their various stages including the pupae and larva stage of their development. When the fish are taking them, chironomid fly fishing can be hot!
One of the nice things about chironomid fly patterns is their simplicity and ease to tie up. Effective patterns can be as simple as wrapping red stretchy material such as red Flextreme around a grub hook and securing it. The addition of a bead head and/or peacock herl at the head can add to the effectiveness of the pattern.
Another effective chironomid pattern is a simple tie of French Oval copper tinsel around the shank of a grub hook with a bead head and floss for breathers or gills. Of course, there are many other patterns that are simple to tie that you might have success with.
The best way to fish chironomid patterns is very slowly. Chironomids in a lake often have very little movement and are affected by the lake conditions and currents. When fishing them, give the line a quick twitch and then allow the fly to sink and move downward in the water and be moved around by the lake’s natural motions upon it. Often you will find a fish will take on this long pause after you’ve twitched your line.
Another effective way to fish them is to retrieve them very slowly.
Where legal, chironomids can be deadly when fished in a tandem of two or three flies. Experiment with them at various depths of the lake, and enjoy more success while stillwater fly fishing.