3 Tips for Fishing Bomber Chironomids

3 Tips for Fishing Bomber Chironomids

What to do when you encounter an emergence of large chironomids

Chironomids are often regarded as the teeny, tiny little bugs that big fish love to gorge themselves on. However, chironomids that experience a longer sub-surface life (often referred to as Bombers) can reach impressive sizes.

Bombers are typically seen during the months of May through September, and are often found during the late-summer on a multitude of lakes in the BC interior.

What to do when you run into a "bomber" hatch?

Get the Facts

This is first on the list, as it is common practice to tie on a bomber pattern as soon as large chironomids are seen emerging.


I personally wait until I am seeing them in the throat pump before tying one on. A common occurrence is to see large chironomids emerging, only to find a throat sample full of size 16 and 18 pupa.

Go Naked

Chironomid fishing with a naked line is a highly effective method, but the fun increases when fish are keyed in on the big bugs.

Naked lining consists of fishing a floating line without a strike indicator, a leader that is 5-20% longer than the depth of water you are fishing, and, retrieving the fly with a painfully slow hand-twist retrieve.

Bombers have some impressive wiggling power when ascending the water column, and I firmly believe that fish like to see these bugs moving rather than sitting perfectly static.

All of this aside, it is simply heart-stopping to feel a big rainbow latch onto a chironomid pupa.

Skinny Isn't Always Better

Though we strive to keep our chironomid bodies slim and realistic, it does not hurt to have a slightly thicker profile when imitating bombers.

A highly effective way to cut down on time is to simply build your taper with some UNI-Stretch before beginning the fly. This is a trick that I first observed John Kent use, and has made tying bombers easier and quicker.