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Discussion Starter #1
I'm new to fly fishing and want to start fishing chironomids. The other day I found these two helpful videos: Wet line http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3H97i4L9EVc Dry line http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=c0EiH9tN8VU
In my opinion, wet line chironomiding looks easier as you don't have to cast long leaders (since I'm not very good at casting). Whats your opinion on this and which method do you think would be easier for a beginner to start of with?
thanks
 

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I'm a bit of a newbie to chironomids myself but in my opionion fishing with dry line and a float indicator is about is easy as it gets. True, fishing long leaders (say, over 15 feet) is difficult, but one solution to this problem is to fish in shallower lakes where you can get away with shorter leaders.
 

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This is the summer I perfect wet line techniques. Everyone I have talked to who wet line chironomid fishes, says it is the easiest and surest way to fish these little buggers. I am pretty good and consistent with floating line techniques and reallhy want to start being consistent on the wet line as well. Thanks for the links.
 

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As an amateur myself I'll say that while casting is intimidating at first, it's essential to learn because in my opinion dry fly-fishing is hands down the most exciting form. I've caught a huge amount of fish on dry flies in the last year (I couldn't guess the number, in the 40-70 range) and I have caught 0 on chronomid pupa patterns. In my experience in attempting chronomid fishing the retrieve is difficult to master, not to mention picking a pattern that will appropriately match the hatch. It's one thing to see the adults on the surface but will they have similar coloration to the pupa?

and just to make sure you meant wet chronomid flies vs dry chronomid flies? not fishing wet flies with a dry line (and sinking leader perhaps) vs a wet line?
 

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I fish chironomids on a floating line w/ an indictor and i don't fish deeper then about 20'. If the fish are deeper then fish it with a wet line, i haven't ever really tried but i have heard that the strikes are insane. i guess the biggest thing is to make sure of your depth and be sure that your fly is at the bottom before beginning your retrieve, otherwise your wasting your time.
 

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In water less than 25' I'll go with a dry line, and more I'll use a wet. My absolute most fun day ever flyfishing was when I found the sweet spot at about 42 feet. There were a few hits that were so hard that I was shocked that they didn't break my 4 weight.
 

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and just to make sure you meant wet chronomid flies vs dry chronomid flies? not fishing wet flies with a dry line (and sinking leader perhaps) vs a wet line?
When folks talk about fishing chironomids, 99% of the time they are talking chironomid pupae. Floating line presentation is the most cpmmon, with a long leader (sometimes 30'), often a strike iondicator anda weighted pupa pattern. Wet line technique is a short leader (3-5 feet) on a sinking line (type 6 is ideal). You only cast out a distance equal to the depth you are ancored in and slowly retrieve up the water column.
 

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noob question time:

with the wet line technique, do you wait to start your retrieve until the line is pretty much vertical, as in right below the boat? i'm guessing you strike when you feel the line tighten or see the line at the end of teh tip move, correct? or are the strike usualy fairly hard? fast sink would be best i suppose in deeper water, and you could get away with the slow sink stillwater line for shallower, clearer water no? i've only fished chironomids on a dry line so far. this sinking techique has my interest piqued. i seem to recall a chapter on it in The Gilly. time to go read. :D
 

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Like Prof said, only cast out as much line as the water your sitting in. a arms length is about 24-30 inches. once the line has had time to sink, a SLOW figure eight or hand twist retrieve will work and because you are slowly retrieving the line in there hand it should be easy to set the hook.
 

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Discussion Starter #10
When using a dry line and long leaders (15' +), how do you make a leader that long? I've never seen a leader more than 9 feet long for sale at a fly shop so how do most people make those long leaders?
 

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When using a dry line and long leaders (15' +), how do you make a leader that long? I've never seen a leader more than 9 feet long for sale at a fly shop so how do most people make those long leaders?
tie on tippet with a surgeons knot. you should do this anyway, even if you don't really need a 9' leader. most store bought leaders are tapered, so when you tie on and cut off flies, the line keeps getting thicker. this defeats the purpose of an 4 or 6 pound leader since they usually taper to that from about 15lb or so.
 

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At times when I see fish are at 25 feet or deeper I go to a very fast sinking line, 6 feet of leader around 8 pounds or so, a #14 to 18 black swivel then 20 or so inches of tippet about 6 pounds then the chironomid.

I attach my forceps to the fly and drop the line to the lake bottom, reel up about 12 to 20 inches and use a white marking pen to mark my fly line so I know where to stop when I drop the fly down there.

Sometimes I will sit and wait for 3 or 4 minutes then begin a painfully slow figure 8 mend. Any strikes encountered I note the depth and mark the line.

Other times I have put the fly down to the appropriate level as per above, then I will put on a strike indicator so that I can leave the rod (or both rods) in a holder and fish completely static.

The above is used as well for fishing microleeches.

Where no fish are seen on the finder we tend to wind drift until some are located, or do more active searching for them.
 

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Wet line: Attach a pair of hemostats to the chironomid on your line and lower it into the water until you hit bottom. You can't mistake it!. Reel up a couple of turns on the reel, then strip in your line until you get back your hemos. Now drop your chironomid back and count down until you are on the bottom (If you are using a type 6 line , and are sitting in 25 feet of water, it will take 50 seconds to reach the bottom-use your watch). Now start a very slow figure 8 retrieve (it should take you 5-10 nimutes to get up to the surface). Your fly will be directly below you with no slack on the line, and the trout will usually take the fly and head down towards the bottom. This produces a very strong, unmistakeable take.

Floating line: You are not concerned with turning the fly over in this instance, so most anglers simply use a non tapered leader. I like to use 6 lb fluorocarbon leader, and I simply tie on a 25 foot length and I am done.
 

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I do pretty much what others have said. The only thing I do different is I only use fluoro for the last couple of feet and I attach it with a teeny swivel which gives some weight and makes a good connection between leader and fluoro. I also pause for 5 seconds or so every few seconds of the retrieve, which is painfully slow. The takes are usually powerful so keep a good grip on your rod. Sometimes I troll a chronie along an edge using a fast sink line ( extremely slow ). Again keep a good grip on your rod.
 

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I remember hearing on a fishing show that when using a sinking line with chironomids then you should go 2-5 feet longer then your depth because your line wont hang perfectly vertical but infact in a slight belly, by adding the few extra feet you can reach right to the bottom and this is what you want. I have also seen and heard that the strikes are usually very savage and most novice fishermen get broken off on their first few fish. Its good to let the fish run with the line before setting the hook because this allows the fish to hook itself without breaking you off. I have done this only a couple times so far and found it to be kind of spotty, went back to the indicator and caught way more....go figure.
 

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When using a dry line and long leaders (15' +), how do you make a leader that long? I've never seen a leader more than 9 feet long for sale at a fly shop so how do most people make those long leaders?
I make my own tapered leaders using mono of different strengths, example, 15lb. - 12lb. - 8lb. and 6 or 4lb. fluoro tippet for dries. Most of the time when fishing chronies or wet flies I just use 1 piece of mono and then a tippet. You can make them as long as you like, and cheaper too.
 

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My general rule is in water less than 15" deep, I use a dry line and leader. I want to get the fly a bit away from the boat. Deeper than 15" I don't worry about hanging the fly straight down.

One thing to keep in mind when fishing chironomids is that the real ones take hours to actually reach the surface. They don't swim, but rather accumulate tiny air bubbles that lift them. This is so slow, they will generally have no perceptible vertical movement in the water column. Your retrieve is thus not to give action to the fly to induce a strike, but rather to move the fly through different depths to find fish that may be cruising at that level. Note that when fishing a dry line, this is pretty much a moot point, since your depth is set with the strike indicator, and a retrieve will only move it sideways.

One thing to consider is fly motion induced by rod or indicator movement. I'm not sure how much "bouncing" of the fly encourages or discourages the fish, but it certainly isn't a natural motion. Maybe some of the old pros can comment on this.

On a floating line, your indicator will generate lift as it rides the waves. This will induce a lot more motion on a hanging leader than on a wet line, since the leader has a lot less mass.

On a wet line, if you hang the line directly from the rod tip, you are more subject to boat motion - which will be amplified through the rod to the line. This is worst if you have the rod in a holder (you can compensate for the motion if you're holding the rod). I like to use an indicator on a hanging wet line and leave a bit of slack to the rod tip to reduce this.

Oh, one thing that can be tricky with a wet line hanging straight down is you've got a coin-toss chance that the fish's first run will go under your boat. If you've got dual anchors, you can't swing your line around the end.

Your mileage may vary.
 

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You should be able to find leaders to buy up to and exceeding 12ft+

if not learn to tie the blood knot and get yourself some fluorocarbon or monofilament line and tie on as much as you need

Most people I talk to who fish chronomids seem to prefer monofilament, they say they can feel the strike better
 

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everyone i know prefers flourocarbon for their final tippet material when chironomiding because of its non stretch qualities in helping indicate strikes. alot of guys will also use swivels between the mono & flouro which i thinks helps to take away the "bouncing" motion of the fly. The weekend we were at Logan it sure rang true because i had no swivel and my dad did, I outfished him 8 fish to his 1 until he took off his swivel. I think allowing the fly to have motion sometimes intices trout into striking. I do however use swivels when im fishing 12' + because it aids in getting the fly down faster and wave bounce would never effect the fly with that much line hanging anyways.

I like to think of myself as a fairly efficient chironie fisherman. I seem to know how to get into fish when im out there and thats what i like, i even help others who ask get into fish when i can :)
 

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EricNotTheRed says
"Oh, one thing that can be tricky with a wet line hanging straight down is you've got a coin-toss chance that the fish's first run will go under your boat. If you've got dual anchors, you can't swing your line around the end. "

LOL I had exactly this happen last week! Darned fish hit a static microleech sitting close to the bottom in about 20 feet of water and rocketed into the air on the wrong side of the boat! It was too large to horse it around and it eventually broke off on me after getting crossed up in the front anchor rope. Had not had it happen before but it sure caused a rush.
 
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