Getting into the chironomid game can be an intimidating venture for the uninitiated. All the colors, sizes, colors, blends and rib combos might seem a little overwhelming. It's still true that a #14 or #16 black Ice Cream Cone will work wonders in a variety of situations, but you're still going to find more fish by dialing in the particular size and color that the trout are targeting on any given day. Both the kid and amateur entomologist in me really enjoys collecting insects in the water, or carefully extracting a throat sample from a caught trout with a pump. Once placed in a clear container, you can fully study the intricacies of color and segmentation in the samples you collect. This is especially true of chironomids.
Many of the bugs I capture feature a blending of two or more colors over the length of their bodies. Red butts or bands are very common in a lot of chironomids from the residual hemoglobin stored in their bodies as larvae (aka bloodworms). I've been fishing a BC pattern called the Screaming Viking that mimics this appearance by loosely overwrapping a red underbody with olive thread and effectively blending the colors. The Screaming Viking is a wonder both on lakes around Washington and into the BC Interior. The Bloody Tan is a lighter tan version I started playing with a few years ago to capitalize on the prevalence of red/tan or red/brown pupae that hatch in spring on many waters. It was an instance success and continues to serve me well. Whip up a few and watch that bobber plunge!
Bloody Tan Chironomid Recipe:
Hook: Daiichi 1760 #14
Bead: 3/32" Black Nickel Tungsten
Thread: 8/0 Tan Uni Thread
Gill: White Uni Stretch
Rib: X Small Copper Wire
Body: Red 70 Denier Ultra Thread & 8/0 Tan Uni Thread
Coating: Solarez Bone Dry Ultra Thin Resin
Confluence Beer Pairing: I'll come right out and admit that many of our recommended brews originate from six packs dropped off at the shop by friends and thoughtful customers. The fact that I'm picking this month's beer under those same circumstances is less a gesture of favoritism and more a recognition that a lot of patrons of the Confluence Fly Shop happen to not only be really great people, but they also have exceptional taste in beer. Reuben's Brews' Mind The Gap IPA is bright and citrusy, not overly hoppy and serves as a most perfect refreshment to usher in the spring season. To the lanky fellow who's as talented on a bike as he is with a fly rod in hand...much thanks, you're our hero! I'd like to think that beautiful salmon you caught off the beach was equal parts skill and good karma.