Below the surface of the water on any of our interior lakes, there are a smorgasbord of options for fish to enjoy at any given part of the season. The tricky part is knowing how, when and why to imitate each of these food sources. First things first, we will discuss exactly what bloodworms are.
Bloodworms are a larva constructed of hemoglobin, they’re a chironomid before it has reached the very popular pupal stage, they live in the mud and trout will key in on them at various times of the year. Bloodworms come in all shades and colours from bright red, maroon, green or brown.
Chironomids experience what is called a complete metamorphosis (egg, larva, pupa, adult). During the larva stage, they will often be found very close to the bottom of the lake. Typically you can imitate bloodworms with a very similar approach and setup as you would a chironomid pupa using a long leader with our without an indicator. I almost always fish them under an indicator to keep your fly at a fixed depth very close to the bottom.
1) Ice Off – A great time to imitate bloodworms is immediately after the ice leaves the lake. Fish will begin to wake up and forage around for food. Bloodworms are an excellent food source at this time because they are ever-present and readily attainable for the fish. Fish will be moving fairly slowly, so I will use a strike indicator in this situation 100% of the time to both keep my fly in the zone and give me the ability to detect light strikes when the fish barely mouth it at a deathly slow pace.
2) Early Bird Gets the Bloodworm – Being a staple, readily available food source bloodworms are a great option to fish early in the morning before a chironomid hatch or later on in the afternoon
3) Doldrum Beater – Another key time that fish will key on bloodworms is when there is seemingly nothing else happening. It’s hot, usually late July into August and the temperature has reached a level where finding a consistent hatch of bugs becomes increasingly difficult. Fish will turn onto bloodworms and this can result in some incredible fishing, especially due to the fact you will likely be one of the only boats on the water.
4) Translucency – Bloodworms have a fairly translucent body, this can be imitated easily with a number of materials. Stretch tube or scud backing will create both segmentation while giving a translucent effect.