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Late April and early May means a change of pace for my fishing pursuits. I pack up the trout gear for a bit and break out my warmwater stuff. Contrary to popular belief, you can actually do quite well for panfish early in the season (i.e. just after ice-off up until the spawn) as long as you're willing to adjust your normal tactics. Bluegill and other panfish are probably most well-known for their propensity to eat anything you put in front of their aggressive little faces. However, lower water temperatures call for a refinement of your patterns and presentation. I have found that by matching the natural food source of these feisty little slabs, you can greatly increase your success for early season fishing. And, as most people can attest, where you find panfish, you'll also find a big population of chironomids. For the non-entomologists out there, chironomids (or "big midges" as they're sometimes known) are related to the mosquito, but lack the pesky biting inclination. So this pattern is meant to imitate this very common panfish meal. Just vary the colors to match the naturals where you fish. I've caught fish on this pattern everywhere from Pelican Lake to Utah Lake to Lake Powell, Sand Hollow and many others. And don't be surprised to see the occasional largemouth fall for this pattern as well!

Imitation • Chironomid

When to use • Anytime.

Where • Most stillwaters, but especially targeting panfish like bluegill or crappie.

How to fish it • I usually like to fish this pattern dropped from a slip indicator according to the depth at which the fish are holding. Imparting a slight bit of action to the fly once it settles will entice even the most tight-lipped fish out there.

Hook • Mustad C49S #10 - #14

Thread • UTC Ultra thread 70 Black

Bead• 2.8 mm Tungsten Hot Orange

Body • Med UTC V-Rib Olive

Ribbing • Crystal Flash

Thorax • Black UV Ice Dub

Tying Instructions

Attach the bead to the hook and start the thread at the thorax area. Tie in the crystal flash at that point and work your way down to the bend of the hook. Cut the end of the V-Rib to a point and tie that onto the hook at the bend. With the V-Rib flat-side on the hook, wrap it up the hook to just before the bead. Now, grab the crystal flash and wrap it, ribbing the fly, in between the sections of the V-Rib. Tie off the V-Rib and dub a thorax with the Ice Dub. Whip finish.

Curtis Fry lives in Orem and ties flies "for pure necessity and as a creative outlet. I don't fool myself into thinking it is a cheaper alternative to buying flies. It's an addiction I am forced to abide." —

Online See how to tie the fly

Curtis Fry provides a tutorial at YouTube.

More videos •