March typically ushers in the first major chironomid hatches of the spring season and with them, scores of hungry trout awaken to scavenge the lake for an easy meal. Chironomids are an incredibly important food source in still waters and imitating them provides memorable fishing days on lakes throughout the western states and Canadian provinces. They come in a multitude of colors and sizes. Having a well-stocked chironomid box and understanding when and how to fish them is key to enjoying consistent success on our lakes. Phil Rowley and Brian Chan produced an excellent DVD series entitled Conquering Chironomids, that effectively demonstrates the many different techniques and tips for presenting chironomid patterns. There are simply so many different chironomid species of importance out there that we couldn’t settle on just one pattern and had to throw a couple your way. This month we were pleased to have esteemed Fidalgo Fly Fisher member and inveterate chironomid fisherman Bruce Freet join us to kindly share a couple of his favorite early season patterns. Below is the recipe for the Green ASB and Black.
Check out part 2 for instructions on tying the Black and Pearl Chironomid.
Green ASB and Black Chironomid
Hook: Tiemco 200 #16
Thread: Grey 8/0 UNI or comparable
Body: Anti-static bag or gunmetal Flashabou
Over-body: Green FrostBite #32, single strand tied up and back
Rib: Black holographic Sulky or Veevus thread
Head: 3/32 black bead
Gill: 8-10 strands of Organza or white sparkle
Cement: Loon UV Clear Fly Finish Flow over entire body
Variation: Brown ASB Chironomid using “Summer Duck” FrostBite #61 for the over-body with brown holographic Veevus thread rib.
Primary Season: For lowland, coastal Washington lakes, it fishes best below the thermocline at about 14 ft. depth from late March to mid-April. Use a 4 or 6 lb. fluorocarbon tippet and a loop knot for the fly. For most British Columbia lakes, this midge hatches from the middle to the end of May.
The Confluence Beer Pairing: Kulshan’s Good Ol’ Boy Pale Ale makes a fitting accompaniment to the tying of these and other chironomid patterns. I’ve enjoyed a few wonderful dinners over the years with Bruce and some his fellow Fidalgo Fly Fishers club compatriots. I usually bring a growler of Good Ol’ Boy with me and it’s seems to be the beer of choice among Bruce’s guests. Good Ol’ Boy Pale may well be the secret elixir imbibed by only the most stalwart chironomid fishermen and fly tiers. It may also just be really good.