Early in our stillwater season, with the near absence of more prolific insect hatches, chironomid larvae (aka bloodworms) make up a notable portion of a trout’s diet. They can be found concentrated in muddy-bottomed areas of the lake where they burrow. Many contemporary bloodworm patterns incorporate a hot spot or bright fluorescent materials that help trout key in and pick them out of the lineup. The Hot-Blooded, aptedly named after a popular Foreigner song from the late 70’s is much inspired by Jerry McBride’s Bionic Worm, which was one of the first really effective bloodworm patterns I saw incorporating a fluorescent bead and body materials.
Bloodworms take their red coloration from the hemoglobin stored in their bodies, which allows them to retain oxygen in oxygen poor waters and deeper portions of the lake. Many bloodworms are also greenish in hue, or a candy cane-striped red and green. The chartreuse Krystal Flash underbody on the Hot Blooded helps produce this effect and this pattern produces well during late winter and early spring before the more varied and pronounced chironomid hatches begin to steal the show.
I typically fish the Hot Blooded and other such patterns on a floating line and long leader near the bottom and under a slip indicator. Clip your forceps or a weight of some sort to the fly, drop them to the bottom and set your indicator accordingly, usually no more than a foot from the bottom. I’ll often fish this pattern as a point fly under a chironomid pattern a few feet higher in the water column where legal to fish multiple flies. Fishing bloomworm patterns on a full sinking line with a very slow hand twist retrieve can also pick up fish. With our lake season just around the corner, it’s a fine time to tie up a few!
Hot Blooded Bloodworm
Hook: Daiichi 1760 #14
Thread: 70 Denier Red Ultra Thread
Bead: 3/32″ Hot Orange Bead (Tungsten or Brass)
Body: Blood Red Micro Tubing over Chartreuse Krystal Flash
Coating: Solarez Bone Dry UV Resin
Confluence Beer Pairing: Good old fashioned Heneiken in a can. It’s the only beer we could find on Christmas Island, hit the spot warm and cold and never really got old. It’s a nice one to revisit now and again and will fill your head with thoughts of warmer places when you need it most. It would have been nice to down an icy Kulshan Bastard Kat on the atoll as well, but my buddy’s ill-fated attempt to smuggle a sixer in his carry on through TSA at Sea Tac didn’t quite pan out. What was he thinking?