Midge Fishing with a Float Tube

There is no mistaking it; Chironomid fishing on lakes is a very affective method for catching trout. In the same breath, it is also known amongst some fly-fishing anglers to be, well, without pulling any punches… boring .

Chironomids, or midges, are one of the trout’s main food sources and hatch pretty much all year long on streams, rivers, and lakes. Up North they start to hatch when the ice leaves the lake and continue until the ice comes back on. Mid May ‘til the end of June will find the strongest hatches and i t’s at your favorite trout lake or pond where you’ll see the following preferred method of Chironomid fly-fishing take place.

A Floating line with a strike indicator and enough leader to set your weighted Chironomid at its desired depth. The retrieve (if you want to call it that) is one or two short pulls or a very slow hand twist, then wait. Just when you think your fly has fallen back to the desired depth, wait some more. Now another short pull or twist and repeat. Yah, this might be the “preferred method”, but not by me.

When I get to the lake, get the tube out, my waders and fins on and that fly rod in my hand, I just can’t bring myself to fish with the “preferred method”. It seams very similar to still fishing and if I wanted to do that I could stay on shore, listen to the radio, and go to the bathroom when I feel the need as apposed to holding it until I almost burst. When I’m on the lake I want to cast, search, hunt, and cast some more. It’s the whole non-stop action thing that keeps me on the water; this is what keeps me coming back to the lakes time and time again. Take anything away from the experience as a whole and to me, it’s just not fly- fishing.

Through experience, I’ve found another way to affectively fish Chironomids; it’s still a little slower than casting dries or streamers and it’s the same method I use to fish nymphs. In fact, you don’t even have to use a Chironomid, I actually prefer a small Doc Spratley tied small and sparse but it all depends on how fussy the trout are. A medium sink line in six to 12 feet of water with a nine-foot leader is where I have the most success. If you’re fishing a lake with little weed growth then a weighted fly will work well but in the lakes around Edmonton there is no need to weight the Chironomid as the sinking line will pull it down and your presentation will continuously be getting caught in weeds. The retrieve is simple and you can slowly kick your tube along while fishing.

After making your cast, count down until you find weeds. Now make another cast and count again. This time count one or two seconds less and start your retrieve. The retrieve will consist of two short one-inch strips, count to five and repeat. I like to stay with this retrieve for about four casts and then throw in a cast with continuous quick short strips and start the process all over again but you can adjust your retrieve until you find success. For deeper water the use of a faster sinking line will be helpful and a weighted fly won’t hurt either.

There are benefits to this style of fly-fishing that the “preferred method” doesn’t have. Fish spend around 90% of their time feeding sub-surface and since you already have a sinking line on your reel you can change to nymphs or streamers easily without having to change from a floating line. There is no strike indicator to remove and you can experiment with your retrieve speed while still keeping your presentation sub-surface (with floating line your presentation will be pulled to the top of the water when using quicker strips). Is this method better than the preferred method? No, probably not. Will it catch more and bigger trout? No, probably not. Does it work well? I can vouch for it’s success but more importantly, it’s not boring . It’ll keep you casting and much more interested while being out on the water.

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