One of the first signs of spring for trout fisherman is the appearance of a small gray bug that looks like a little sailboat floating down the river. The Blue Wing Olive is a mayfly that is prolific on cold water rivers throughout the United States. A member of the genus Baetis, BWOs hatch from September through May, making up a large percentage of a trout’s diet throughout the year. Blue Wings are very active swimmers, especially when compared to other aquatic insects. They are know to purposefully dislodge from rocks and drift short distances downstream. Because of this, they are an important bug to be familiar with as trout will key in on them even when a hatch is not present. If you happen to be on the river when a hatch occurs, it has the chance to be one of those days you won’t forget. Blue Wings hatch in large numbers during cloudy or rainy conditions which causes their wings to take longer to dry. This means they drift on the surface for a long period of time, offering one of the best dry fly opportunities of the year.
Classic imitations for BWOs include the Adams for the Dun version and Pheasant Tails for the nymphs. If you are fishing for trout, don’t be on the river without at least a couple BWO nymph, emerger, and dun imitations. Here are a few of my favorites. I carry these flies from #16 down to #22 and some even in #24.
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