Catching Fish on Chironomids During a “Non-Hatch”
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Catching Fish on Chironomids During a “Non-Hatch”

Spring has transitioned to summer, and a cool spell of weather has kept water temperatures fairly modest and fishing quite consistent. A couple of weeks ago we were challenged with winds blowing a steady 30km/h with gusts projected to go over 50.

As I idled with a guest over a favourite underwater contour, the sounder lit up. The water was 17 feet deep, and fish were marking within two feet of bottom. There were no bugs hatching at the time, so I figured they were eating chironomid larvae (bloodworms).

After dangling a bloodworm underneath the strike indicator for less than a minute, it quickly submerged. This confirmed my suspicion, though we were given a whole new surprise in the throat sample.

The fish were keyed in heavily on chironomids, with over 12 in the first pump. Half of these were small, grass-green pupa mixed with Chromies and two or three Bombers (large chironomid pupa that spend two years in the larva stage).

We spent the rest of the day suspending according chironomid pupal patterns 15 feet down in 17 feet of water, with not more than five minutes between a fish until it was time to pack up due to Mother Nature finally getting the best of us.

The best part of this stellar day of chironomid fishing is that we did not see a single chironomid hatch all day.

The “non-hatch” in which you do not see any emergence taking place, does not mean that fish are not eating down below. We have partial availability in the next couple weeks, drop us an email if you are looking to up your Stillwater fly fishing knowledge!

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