Friday, May 7, 2010

It has been good to be home for a week.  With my local lakes all ice free I am trying to find sometime to sneak out and wet a line.  This weekend will see me working on my boat.  Each year I try and commit to having the boat ready by mid April but between my schedule and the weather things never seem to go according to plan.  So Mother's Day weekend it is!

I am also continuing to stock my fly boxes, particularly the empty spaces in my chironomid boxes.  Recently, I was asked what my current favorite chironomids were.  I found the question unique as I don't usually think of my flies in that way.  Typically, I observe the conditions and the naturals I see and make my choices from there.  Glancing through my boxes here are the chironomid patterns I reach for the most and where you can find the pattern recipes and tying instructions:

Chromie #10-#16 sometimes 18 if I have to.  You can find the tying instructions for this pattern in my first book Fly Patterns for Stillwaters.
Gun Metal Chromie #10-#16.  I often use this pattern early in the hatch before the pupa have gathered enough trapped air and gases to aid their pupal ascent.  Use gun metal grey SuperFlash for the body.  You can find tying instructions in my latest book, Stillwater Selections.
Ice Cream Cone-#6-#16.  Yes the size #6 is correct.  Some of our western lakes are home to some huge chironomid species.  My favorite color combination is a black body with red wire rib.  I probably reach for this pattern first when fishing new waters or if I am not sure which color is on.  Tying instructions can be found in my first book, Fly Patterns for Stillwaters.
Black Sally #10-#16. A favorite version of a black and red chironomid pupa.  You can find tying instructions for this pattern in my latest book, Stillwater Selections.
Collaborator #10-#16.  This is my current favorite when trout want a brown or burnt orange colored pupa.  You can find tying instructions for the Collaborator in my first book Fly Patterns for Stillwaters.
Bronzie #10-#14.  Another favorite when brown is the preferred color.  The traditional thorax design also works well when fish have seen a bit too many beadhead patterns.  You can also find the tying instructions for the Bronzie in my first book Fly Patterns for Stillwaters.
Clearwater Pupa  #10-#16.  This is more realistic pattern modeled after the Epoxy Buzzer and other similar English reservoir patterns.  A good clear water pattern when trout can be fussy and not always willing to eat a bead-head pupa pattern.  You can find tying instructions for this pattern on my website and in the Stillwater Solutions Recipes book.
Green & Copper #10-#16.  This pattern works well when green or olive pupa are on the menu.  When you read the recipe below you will see that it does not match eiether color but perhaps it is the acceptable color range and stands out just enough from the naturals.

Green & Copper
Hook:  Mustad C49S #10-#16
Thread:  8/0 Black or Olive
Rib:  Fine Copper Wire
Body:  Holographic Green Mylar
Thorax:  Peacock Herl
Bead:  Copper
Gills:  1 Strand of Stillwater Solutions Midge Gill

I also use chironomid larva patterns a fair bit as well.  These are simple but effective patterns to try, especially during low light conditions such as first thing in the day before the pupa begin to ascend and hatch at the surface.

Frostbite Bloodworm #12-#16.  This is a dead simple pattern but still works very well.  A #12 2xl is probably my go to size.  You can find tying instructions in my first book Fly Patterns for Stillwaters or on my website.
Beadworm #10-#12.  I use this pattern a lot on muddy bottomed lakes which are often home to some of the larger chironomid species.  Tying instructions for this pattern can be found in my latest book Stillwater Selections and my website.

So there is my current list of favorites.  I am alwasys in a state of flux so I am often bringing new creations into the mix or some previous year's designs end up getting used more often and will peak their way onto future listings such as the Static Interference which can also be found on my webiste.

Now back to the vise, once I dig it out from the rubble and debris that is my tying bench.

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