Fly Fishers' Republic


June 19, 2007

by Raif Killips




The Chromie is meant to represent a deep lying chironomid pupa at the stage in its life cycle just before the ascent to the surface. At this time the pupa takes on a silvery appearance generated by gases that collect beneath its skin. Many pupae may reach this state at the same time and gather at the same depth in the water column; a scenario known as staging. This is when the Chromie is especially effective. This artificial is primarily a stillwater pattern, though along with a simple variation (see notes opposite) it can be fished in flowing water.

How to fish:

Fish the Chromie using either a static presentation or a quick strip, both methods in conjunction with a high floating strike indicator. You can also fish this pattern employing a traditional nymphing setup with a floating line, long leader and a figure-eight or hand twist retrieve – if you’re prone to wrist problems just use a series of very short and slow pulls on the line. To fish deep using a hand twist or short pull retrieve, try a sink tip or intermediate slow sinker to keep the fly at the right depth.

For more details on fishing chironomids read Brian Chan’s article »

Tying instructions:

Toggle sequence Left/Right Handed ↔

Place a black metal bead on the hook...

1. Place a black metal bead on the hook, then place the hook in the vice as shown. Start the thread at the eye.

Tie in a small bunch of white antron behind the eye...

2. Tie in a small bunch of white Antron behind the eye. Use a minimal amount of thread wraps to secure the material then remove the waste.

Make a slim whip finish. Cut the tying thread and add a drop of head cement...

3. Make a slim whip finish. Cut the tying thread and add a drop of head cement.

Move the bead into position and start the thread again immediately behind it...

4. Move the bead into position and start the thread again immediately behind it.

Catch in the tinsel rib...

5. Catch in the holographic tinsel rib. Keep it in tension as you wrap the thread toward the bend.

Tie in the rib and return the thread to the front of the body.

6. Run the thread to the point indicated keeping the rib material from twisting round the shank. Return the thread to behind the eye.

Catch in the silver flashabou...

7. Catch in the silver Flashabou behind the bead and then cut away the waste ends.

Wrap the Flashabou to the rear of the body then return it to behind the bead...

8. Wrap the Flashabou to the rear of the body then return it to behind the bead. This ensures a good solid silver base to the body.

Counter-wind the rib...

9. Counter-wind the rib making firm wraps that sit down on top of the silver Flashabou.

Complete the ribbing and cut away the waste material...

10. Complete the ribbing and cut away the waste material. Make a whip finish and cut the tying thread once again.

Apply a good coat of 'Hard As Nails'...

11. Apply a good coat of Hard As Nails. Spread the varish evenly and avoid overloading the fly. Applying the varnish now avoids later having to work gingerly around the peacock herl. If you prefer a heavier varnish layer, add another coat after the first has dried.

When the varnish is dry, start the tying thread again. Catch in a couple of peacock herls...

12. When the varnish is dry, start the tying thread again and catch in a couple of peacock herls by their tips. The finest points of the herls can be snapped off first as these can be especially delicate and prone to breaking as you proceed with the dressing.

Twist the herl and thread to form a rope...

13. For a more robust dressing twist the herl and thread together to form a rope. To make the pattern even more robust you may want to add a drop of cement to the base wraps behind the bead – wait for the cement to become tacky before wrapping the herl.

Make two turns of the peacock herl rope. Unravel the rope and trim the waste herl. Whip finish with cement wetted thread...

14. Make two turns of the peacock herl rope. Then allow the rope to unravel. Trim away the waste herl before making a three turn whip finish immediately behind the bead.

Trim the thread and you're done!

15. Adding cement to the thread in the last stage can help avoid daubing cement over the peacock herl. However, if you’re happy adding the head cement now then do so. You should end up with a fly looking something like this.


This pattern was developed by Phil Rowley working similar territory to Kelly Davison's Ice Cream Cone.


For Phil's 'Clear Water' version of the Chromie, visit Hans Weilenmann's fly index.

In smaller sizes use red copper wire for the rib and Mustad C53S or C49S hooks. For larger patterns use Partridge 15BN or Tiemco TMC 2312 hooks.


An alternative to applying head cement to the whip finish after the fly is complete is to add a drop of cement to the thread loop as you make the whip finish. If you do this right the cement will be carried into place with the final wraps of thread. For some tyers this is easier than 'steering' the cement into place and avoiding a messy cement drenched herl finish.

Further reading:

Chironomid Tactics, Brian Chan: Web [29.06.07]. Hitchhikers Guide to Chironomids Part II, Philip Rowley: Web [24.06.07]

3 thoughts on “Chromie

  1. Hello, the chromie is a stillwater must and is one of the first patterns I fish in sizes 18-10. Smaller pattens in early April, May……..larger in the late spring and summer “bombers”(large chironomids) and then small again in Oct. after the hatches are done. One tip as I have been fishing the Interior of British Columbia for two decades is you cam omit the peacock herl and use tying thread instead tapering it halfway up the bead. As well in darker colored lakes you can trade out the black bead and white antron gills for a white bead instead. The white bead can be a deadly trigger for trout as the gills of the emerging chironomid pupa.

    Tight lines,
    Dale “Sharpy” Sharp

    • No peacock, a white bead, sounds like the Snow Cone, another great pattern :-)

  2. Rowley’s Chromie is a must have. Phil’s instructions are to wrap the silver tinsel down and back to get a good base. I like the way it is done here, except I use two pieces of silver tinsel rather than one. Then I offset them just a bit and wrap both together back to the head. It makes a little better body, in my view, and takes no more time than this tie.
    To make the fly more robust I will coat it lightly with Clear Cure Goo before wrapping the herl. After the CGG is cured I tie in the herl and then put a bit of Hansen’s Hard as Nails where I’m going to wrap the herl. This helps to keep it from unraveling. Anyway these are the things I do to catch a few more trout before the thing comes apart.
    Good photos and instructions. Thanks.