Fly Fishing – Fly Patterns

Glass Bead Chironomid

Hook: 16-10 TMC 2457 Scud Hooks Thread: 8/0 Black thread Body: Black flashabou or super flossRib: Thin silver, gold, copper or red wireThorax: Peacock herlHead: Killer Caddis Glass BeadsNote: The Glass-Bead Chironomid can be tied in many different colors to match the naturals. Popular colors include black, olive, brown, maroon, red, lime green, tan, and orange.

Tying Instructions:

Most chironomid patterns these days have some form of a bead head. This is because they help your fly sink down to the fishes zone more quickly. However, these glass beads may look great, they are light and don’t help your fly get down. This is why I prefer to tie these flies with heavy wire shrimp/scud hooks, such as the TMC 2456 made by Tiemco (refer to picture). To represent chironomids larger than size 10 shrimp hooks, I recommend using emerger hooks in size 12 to size 8.

  • First, pinch down barb so you can slide bead on to hook. Then slide the glass bead to the eye of your hook. Tie in thread behind eye, and build up thread behind bead to secure bead in place.
  • Wrap thread back to where the body of the fly should begin. And tie in 3 strands of flashabou or one strand of super floss. Next tie in your ribbing, and wind thread up to the glass bead.
  • Wrap floss forward to the glass bead, secure with thread, and trim. Next, wrap your ribbing forward to the bead, keep spaces between wraps evenly segmented. Secure ribbing with thread, and trim.
  • The final step is to tie in a single strand of peacock herl just before the bead, to build up the thorax (wing-case) of the chironomid. Make 2 or 3 wraps with the peacock herl, then secure with thread and trim. Finally, whip finish, trim, and head cement.


The Glass-Bead Chironomid represents a chironomid in its pupa stage. When the conditions are right, chironomid larva hatch into pupa which begin their slow ascent to the lakes surface where they will hatch in to adults. These slow moving worm like critters are easy pickings for the still-water trout. Trout will often cruise around a lake, selectively picking of dozens of chironomid pupa. Usually there are many different sizes and colors of chironomids hatching in a particular area at the same time, and trout will key in on a particular one. This is why it is important to carry a wide selection of chironomid pupa patterns, in various sizes and colors. Popular colors include black, olive, brown, maroon, red, lime green, tan, and orange.

Chironomids are usually the first sign of insect life after ice off. The first chironomid hatches of the year, are usually of a smaller size. The most intense chironomid hatches occur in late Spring, this is also when you will find the big “bomber” chironomids coming off in many of BC’s interior lakes. However, Chironomid hatches occur from ice off in early Spring, until ice on in late Fall. Making them available to trout year round.

Fishing Techniques:

The most popular method for fishing chironomid pupa is with a floating line and a long leader. First, determine the depth of water that you are fishing. This is most easily done by lowering your anchor. Mark your anchor rope in 5 foot intervals so you can have some idea of the water depth. Then place a strike indicator on your leader, approximately the same distance from your fly as the depth of water that you will be fishing. Cast your fly line out (preferably with the wind), and let it sink to the bottom. Then begin a very slow hand twist retrieve. This will imitate the chironomid pupa’s rise to the surface.

Another method is with sinking lines. For this method a Type II or Type III sinking line is recommended. This technique is rather simple, cast your fly line out, about the same distance as the depth of water you are fishing. Let your line sink, until it is almost perpendicular with the water and then begin an extremely slow hand twist retrieve. If you drag up weed, cast a little shorter on your next attempt.

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