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STILLWATER SERIES - Chironomid Line Setups (Introduction)

Chironomids, an important food source of the thing we all chase, the Rainbow Trout. But how do we properly rig our lines? And which method do we use and why? These are common questions we are frequently asked. Sometimes it’s the seasoned angler looking to compare notes. Other times it’s the novice fly fisherman simply looking to get started or sharpen their skills.

There are three main ways to effectively fish Chironomids with a fly line in stillwater. Each serves their own purpose depending on the situation at hand. You have the dangle method, which involves a full sinking line. There’s the naked method, which uses a floating line and a long enough leader to hit the bottom, plus an additional 25%. Thirdly and arguably the most common method, is with a strike indicator and a floating line. But there’s more to it than just that.

Rainbow Trout caught with Chironomid
Chironomid in the nose, size #14, Chromie

As a fly fishing angler, we appreciate the feeling of being versatile. It’s in our best interest to be ready for opportune circumstances and to be inclined to adjust methods on the fly. On the water, we’re putting together the situational puzzle pieces, absorbing information that surrounds us like a sponge. It’s important to know when each method should be used, in order to stay efficient and consistently net fish.

These methods are not new by any stretch of the imagination. They’ve been tried, tested and perfected from some of the most influential people in the fly fishing industry. Of course, we all like to make our own changes to the setups and find something that works specifically for ourselves. If you have a different setup that works for you, that’s great. Please share, we’d love to hear about it.

In this series, we want to highlight the versatility of your Chironomid fly fishing tactics and provide you with tools and information needed to be confident using each method. To the experienced angler, this might serve as a refresher course with a few extra tips for your own “chironie setup.” To the novice angler, we hope you leave here with a new found obsession and added assurance on the water.

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