by Carol Ann Morris
(originally published in Fly Fishing
and Tying Journal, Spring 2006)
A large Kamloops rainbow trout that fell to a
Chironomid pupa fly in the famous lakes
of British Columbia.
In this article, The Truth About Chironomids Part Two, the popular "quick-strip technique" for fly fishing with Chironomid imitations is discussed in detail.
In the previous article, The Truth About Chironomids Part One, Carol discusses some truths about fishing deep with Chironomids.
Because Chironomids are ranked as one of the most important sources of food for trout in lakes, it is important to understand their biology and behavior. In The Truth About Chironomids Part Three, the details about the life cycle and unique characteristics of Chironomids are revealed, and three hot chironomid pupa patterns recommended by the experts are introduced.
Both the standard indicator technique and newer quick-strip technique use the same basic equipment:
Floating line, strike indicator, and weight on the leader or a bead-head fly.
The quick-strip technique was developed by guide Peter Morrison and fly shop owner Kelly Laatsch, both from the St. Mary Angler Fly Shop (www.stmaryangler.com; 1-800-667-2311), and is fished as follows:
Peter has seen a number of fishermen pick up their line too soon, and miss strikes. He also notes that it isn't important to cast out a long distance from the boat, since most fish are caught within an easy cast right around the area where you are anchored.
The theory behind this quick-strip technique is that the animated movement of the fly made by consistent, sharp strips of the line,
causes trout to strike instinctively.
Peter also gave us a tip for determining the depth of a lake—clamp a hemostat to the hook bend (just one click, if you clamp down more,
the hook might break), and then lower the fly to the lake floor.
When it touches the bottom the line goes slack. Move your strike indicator so that the fly floats one to two feet off the lake bottom.
Leave the hemostat on the hook, adjust the indicator, and keep testing until it is positioned where you want it. Then remove the hemostat, and you're ready to make your first cast.
We prefer to use corkies for strike indicators. They are easy to move once they're placed on the leader, and they won't get water-logged.
An example of two different sizes
of corkie strike indicators.
Many avid chironomid fishers now prefer
the larger indicator on the right.
We use mainly the smaller sizes, half an inch in diameter, but Brian Chan, British Columbia's fisheries biologist for over 25 years and an expert
on Chironomid fishing, has suggested using larger ones instead.
The larger size floats consistently on the surface, and wave action moves the fly in a way that mimics the natural.
Subtle takes by trout will be harder to see with a larger indicator, however, so both sizes are worth considering.
Most serious lake-fishers carry at least one fly box like this nowadays...
full of chironomid pupa patterns.
In the last segment of this article, The Truth About Chironomids Part Three, the major characteristics, life cycle, and behavior of Chironomids are discussed to help you understand why these insects are one of the most important sources of food for trout in lakes. It concludes with three hot chironomid pupa patterns recommended by the experts.