Chironomid Madness at Back To The Wall Ranch

I met Sage, Redington, RIO and Sitka Gear rep George Cook in the eastern Washington desert this past weekend, armed for our annual battle with some giant rainbow trout that prowl two large and fertile Columbian Basin lakes. These lakes are full of scuds and leeches and the chironomid emergences are legendary—when it happens each day the fish key in on those abundant morsels and chow down big time. You can fish a midge under an indicator and lay waste to the pack, or you can just fish a chironomid on a floating line with no indicator and a hand twist retrieve. No matter the method you will tangle with fish that range, in some years, to 30 inches. This year, we landed ‘bows to 28 inches with the average fish going somewhere between 19 and 22 inches. This is one of the best lake fishing experiences in the West and there may still be time to get in on the show this year. If you’re interested send an e-mail to me at Anglers Tonic ( and I’ll put you in touch with The Man. Enjoy these pics from a great weekend at Back To The Wall.

Why not throw, where no man has thrown before.

It’s always interesting when fishing from shore and trying to land these beasts in the cattails. Here, George Cook is about ready to bring one to hand.

Cook with a solid ‘bow to hand.

The crew.

Nobody goes hungry at Back To The Wall, thanks to the kind offerings from my fellow angling guests. Here, Warren Sly gets ready to dime up the seasoned lamb.

Gone in a flash.

Last moments.

Imminent death is happening here. If you were a Callibaetis on these lakes this weekend, and you blew outside of the cattails, you were going to be eaten by a swallow, make no mistake about it. After spending some time watching these birds I realized that, to a Callibaetis, these things are winged-beasts.

Dennis Westover with a 28-inch rainbow at Back To The Wall.

Dennis Westover, the king of all chironomid fly tiers, sets the hook on a modest ‘bow.

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2 Responses to Chironomid Madness at Back To The Wall Ranch

  1. Erik Johnson says:

    Headed over there next week. Thanks for the Update Greg.

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