What’s In Our Boat: Chironomid Fishing Setup
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What’s In Our Boat: Chironomid Fishing Setup

Every few days, an email comes in on the topic of rod/reel/line setups for chironomid fishing in specific.  While it does not have to be overly expensive, having quality equipment goes a very long way in making your experience as enjoyable as possible.  Our boats and my personal arsenal are both set up with what I believe are the best tools for the job.  Here is a detailed breakdown:

ROD:  Scott Flex 966-4

One beautiful thing about chironomid fishing is that your fly spends equal or more time in the water than any other technique.  I have heard people say that the rod you use doesn’t matter as you are not casting very frequently, but when you are casting why not give yourself as much advantage as possible?

We have a full fleet of these rods for a reason, they are not a ridiculously fast rod which is a great asset for a) turning over very long leaders, allowing the rod to load into the bottom section without a ton of speed and b) those who have not cast a fly rod before will find this action of rod very forgiving.  The extra 6 inches from a standard 9-foot rod creates additional leverage for digging long leaders out of the water.

REEL:  Ross Cimmaron II 5/6

There is no way around it, having a quality fleet of reels that can handle fish taking lengthy runs into your backing will save you a lot of headache in the long run.  These reels are very low maintenance, they had a mid to large sized arbor that allows quick pickup when fish decide to turn around and run towards the boat.

I am personally a fan of disc-drag reels and the way the adjustable tension allows you to bring fish to hand quickly.  The handle and drag knob are both very easy to grab without looking, the startup inertia is almost non-existent and the porting system makes them a very light reel.

LINES:  Scientific Anglers Wavelength Titan/Amplitude Anadro & MPX

Wavelength Titan – This is the breadwinner when it comes to having people in the boat that are not familiar with roll casting or throwing leaders over 20 feet in length.  A short, aggressively tapered 33.5′ head and plenty of extra grain weight allows easy roll casting with indicator setups.

Amplitude MPX – With a slightly longer head at 37.5′ in the 6wt model, this line is excellent for naked line chironomid fishing.  The taper design makes carrying longer lengths of line in the air much easier, while still having enough power to roll cast with indicator rigs.

Amplitude Anadro Nymph – This is quickly becoming a favourite of mine for both indicator and naked line chironomid fishing.  A much longer head at 60 feet allows you to carry ample amount of line in the air with a naked leader setup while avoiding the dreaded “hinge” that will become present with shorter head lengths.


This will be covered much more in-depth down the road, and mostly comes down to personal preference.  For chironomid fishing, both naked and with an indicator setup, I prefer lengths of 6 to 10-pound fluorocarbon tippet as the butt section.  A few reasons for this are:

a) Easier pegging of the strike indicator, even in the top section of the leader without the large diameter found on the top end of a tapered leader

b) Fluorocarbon will sink faster than regular monofilament, taking less time to bring your fly into the zone

c) Thinner diameter butt sections will not only sink faster, but will hang at a more consistently vertical angle under the indicator or tip of the floating fly line without large diameter mono creating a hinge or prohibiting sink rate.

There we have it, if you have any questions on any of this equipment or setups feel free to drop a message through the contact form below!


3 Responses

  1. Avatar
    Steve Dodd
    | Reply

    Do you use 3 different weights of leader or just 2 say in 17 ft. of water. Thank you.

    • Jordan Oelrich
      Jordan Oelrich
      | Reply

      Hey Steve,

      Typically I will run just a straight shot of 8 or 10-pound fluoro down to my swivel, followed by 6-pound fluorocarbon to the fly attached with a non-slip mono loop!

    • Jordan Oelrich
      Jordan Oelrich
      | Reply

      Hey Steve,

      I do not taper my leaders down very often, typically just a straight piece of 6 pound fluorocarbon as I find it gets my fly down in the zone quicker.

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