Wednesday, July 29, 2009

The Chironomid Cult

It's funny you know, when I first heard about chironomiding I didn't understand the whole chironomid craze. I got away from still fishing because I wanted to become more involved in the catching process. The fly rod to me was the "next step" in the fishing evolution. The art of tight loops, the constant searching for your game, trying to imitate food sources through different techniques and presentations. Chironomiding or fishing static presentations almost seamed like taking a step back. Staring at an indicator (a fly anglers name for a little bobber) for hours on end just wasn't my vision of what fly fishing was all about. Then I tried it. My first impression was less than favorable, I didn't see why it was so dam popular. I wasn't catching as many fish as when I was working weed beds and drop offs with a nymph on a sinking line. Of course I still didn't understand a lot of the intricacies of chironomiding like how important it was to be anchored. Like most things in my life however (with the exception of my guitar), I couldn't give up on it until I mastered it. So I did tons of research (mostly reading) and putting what I read to practice. I started catching more and more fish but still didn't see why so many had gone crazy for this style of fly fishing.

It was a warm afternoon in May on a local Edmonton trout lake when the "light bulb" finally clicked on. I launched my float tube and was making my way out onto the lake when I saw these large midge shucks (bombers) floating on top of the water. There were thousands of them with more hatching right before my eyes. I became rather excited as everything I had been reading about fishing chironomids had told me this should be an excellent day. I let my anchor down, slid on a strike indicator and tied on the biggest bomber pattern I had in my fly box. Well, it didn't even have time to sink when I saw the indicator rush under. I played a nice, active, 17" rainbow, brought it to the net and happily released it. Of course I didn't think the fishing would be anywhere near this kind of excitement but I was optimistic that it may be fairly active. Nope, I was wrong. For the next three hours, it was almost exactly like that. Maybe not a take before the flies sunk (although that happened frequently) but a strike on nearly every cast for almost three hours. I caught lunkers, stockers and all sizes in between. Now I understood the chironomid craze! Though the hour and a half to follow wasn't as stellar, I probably caught more fish in that short time than on a normal day of fishing. Although I never knew it at the time, that was my induction into the "Chironomid Cult".

Today I teach others how effective chironomiding can be as well as other styles and techniques through stillwater clinics and guided trips. It's a lot of fun to watch folks get there first hook up on a chironomid and sometimes I even get to see their light bulb turn on. If you're interested in a stillwater clinic or a guided trip, you can cut the learning curve in half by sending me an e-mail and booking a trip with AbertaStillwaters.Com today.

Here's fun video called The Chironomid Cult. I wish it was as exciting as this video all the time but when there's a good hatch on, this video is pretty close.

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