Chironomid fishing has been a ongoing passion of mine for the past 3 years. Chironomids are a staple food source for most rainbow trout throughout the year, so why not fish them. Although its a main source of food, chironomid fishing can be very tough at times.
My favourite way to fish chironomids is under a strike indicator, I share this addiction with thousands of other still-water fly fishermen. The strike indicator is a main key to my success when it comes to chironomid fishing. Next comes the depth that you fish at. In general I fish my chironomid a foot off the bottom, it's a good starting point, and with quick release indicators your depth can be quickly changed to the level the fish are feeding at. The third key would have to be fly selection.
I fish my chironomids a few feet below a swivel, this helps your fly get down and the swivel prevents those awful wind knots. The way I match the hatch is to put on a fly that I have confidence in and once I have caught a fish, I use a stomach pump to get a throat sample. lastly a good depth of 8-30 feet is ideal. I have caught up to 35 fish or more chironomid fishing in one day and those days occur more than you would think. But I have also had some bad days, Fishing for two days straight and not a single nibble. So it can be a love hate relationship, but for me there is more love then hate! In my mind the best days are cool spring days, overcast and a slight breeze. The overcast makes it tough for the fish to see you and the indicator. Although overcast helps I have had many great days with bluebird sky's and no wind at all, but the Breeze gives the chironomid action, making it a lot more life like.
Another important key to my arsenal is a fish finder. The fish finder lets you key in on the fish and get your fly in exactly the right depth. If you do not have a fish finder you can use forceps. Just clamp them to your fly and drop it to the bottom, then set your indicator so it's a foot under the surface, take the forceps off and your ready to go! I still use this tactic in lakes where I bring my belly boat or if I am imitating bloodworms close to the bottom. Another good tactic when fishing chironomids is to leave your line in the water and be confident in your fly. But that doesn't mean sit in the same spot for 2 hours if your not getting bites.
I usually switch things around every 15-20 minutes of I am not catching fish. First I change depth, then fly pattern and finally the location. I hope some of these ideas will help you out in the future. If you have any questions feel free to ask! Tight lines.