Posts Tagged ‘BWO emerger


Fly Tying by Oar Whore: BWO Sipper Emerger

Oar Whore: BWO Sipper Emerger

This pattern tutorial by Oar Whore, has some good explanations on tying in a deer hair wing in reverse fashion, a trailing shuck, a goose biot body and how to finish the fly off. And here is an excellent piece by OW (need to learn his name Daniel Palmer) on how to get in and out of a drift boat.


Fly Tying: BWO Emerger (thread body)

My experiment for a segmented thread body fell flat so to speak. The first layer, olive, was fine, but the over layer of black laid flat and obscured much of the green. I could twist the black thread and see if I get a finer black ribbing. Or an ultra fine wire ribbing that would provide a cleaner appearance.

BWO Emerger (Thread body/ribbing) SB


Fly Tying: BWO Emerger Pattern (Bud Wing & Loop Wing)

BWO Emerger

This Size 16 fly is a BWO Emerger. The pattern has an elk hair tail.  The abdomen is constructed of dark gray thread with a fine dark olive copper wire ribbing. The thorax is a three part combo: of dark olive Superfine dubbing; one strand of Krytal flash folded over four times to make a bunched emerging wing and a dun hackle. You will notice the hook is not a curved, which has become the norm for many emerger/stillborn/cripple patterns.

The above thorax should be tied as follows: start a small amount of dubbing for the rear portion of the thorax, then tie in a hackle by butt section. Wrap two to three turns of hackle but do not advance too far forward toward the eye of the hook. You need to allow room for the emerging wing and the remainder of the thorax, as well as the thread head. After the few turns of hackle, take one strand of Krsytal Flash and fold it over four times to form a compact wing bud. It should not extend back past the mid point of the shank.Tie it in and cut off the excess. Finish the thorax with the dubbing and a tidy thread head. I used 6/0 thread for the abdomen. For the remainder of the fly 14/o was used.

BWO Emerger w/Loop Wing

This one has a loop wing. The tail is still elk hair; the body is the same dark gray 6/0 thread with dark olive wire. I dubbed a wrap of olive Superfine then I tied in the strands of Krystal Flash and pulled them to the rear. This time the hackle was tied in and two wraps were made and tied off. Then I pulled the Krsytal Flash strands over the top of the hackle and tied off. The thorax was finished off with dubbing and then a thread head. I think either version is acceptable for an emerger. The tail could be deer hair, synthetic fibers, moose hairs, guard hairs. The key here is the Krystal Flash wing bud or wing loop. The effort is to create the emerging wing. This pattern would lend itself to a size 18 as well. Also, all the components/colors of the above pattern can be changed to represent other mayflies.I use the Superfine Dubbing because the fibers are, well super fine, so they twist onto the thread to form a very narrow coating upon the thread and allow for a small dubbed body.


Fly Fishing: The Necessary Emergers

The usual fly fishing progression for a beginner is a floating line and a dry fly. The emphasis is on the surface presentation with the dry. The casting is easier, the presentation easier and the takes visible. The match the hatch mantra seems primary.

Then the beginner is told that fish spend the vast majority of their time feeding subsurface on nymphs. So the fly fisher still uses the floating line, but must now adapt to the nymph and perhaps split shot and a strike indicator. Nymphing must be learned and practiced when no surface
activity (hatch, rises) is evident. A lot of fish are caught this way. Also, Streamers and wet flies are stripped and swung.

As the studies and observations progress, the fly fisher dabbles with a bushy dry fly followed by a dropper pattern. From his studies, he has noticed there is a place in between the fly on the surface and the nymph crawling/drifting along the bottom…this middle to upper strata is a new realm of insects striving for the surface. I don’t suggest a dry/dropper set up for the beginner, unless the casts are kept short (15′ to 25′) with an open loop. It is not that this rig is not productive, rather it just is not an easy setup to cast without tangles for the beginner.

At this point the beginning fly fisher has amassed a body of vague knowledge of the aqua-realm from top to bottom and can operate with occasional success. However, there is one area that should be recognized by the beginner as every bit as important as that celebrated primary realm..the top..the surface…the dry fly realm. The Emerger realm should be  viewed as, in many instances, equal to or more important for success than the surface dry fly world.

The emergence of an insect (the vertical emergence, not the horizontal crawl-swim emergence) does start at the bottom, but let’s consider the emergence as three progressions/zones: the bottom zone of the stream/lake; the middle zone where the fly moves quickly upward, or wiggles up and down in a teasing dance; and the upper zone where the flies pass through toward the surface in that gluttonous food cart paradise in the top few feet or inches of space below the meniscus.

The bottom zone is fished with various larva/pupa/nymph patterns and accounts for all those feeding fish. The middle zone is often fished as the fly is either retrieved upward through the zone (stillwater) or the fly swings up through it (rivers). Again, a very productive zone. But, for beginners, the upper zone is the neglected zone.

On a lake the fly fisher retrieves to the surface and once within that upper foot or so, they usually have retrieved the fly close to the angler. The fly is jerked upward and loaded to the rear as the cast is hastened to get back down into the lower zones (have you ever hooked a fish on that backward rip…the fly takes the fly at the very end as you jerk toward the surface. On a stream it is much the same technique and again, hits sometimes comes at the top.

I am going to suggest that the beginning fly fisher develop a taste for the upper zone emerger and fish it before, during and after the hatch. Tie or buy emergers that include unweighted nymphs, parachute emergers, stillborn patterns, sinking dry flies.  I would recommend the following book as your emerger bible…….

Along with your fly patterns, study rise forms. In particular watch for those subsurface flashes of fish slashing through the rising bugs. Look for those swirls, porpoises, splats, quick sips and slow sips. That original floating line will be your primary fly line, although on a lake if you are hesitant to change rods or spools, you can get by with that Intermediate. Emergers…no fuss, many options, and it can ride in the film or sink a bit. Study them, tie them or buy them and use ’em.

How To Fish Emergers

“Any fly that imitates the natural of the hour without hackle, or with parachute hackle, can make a good emerger. Just trimming the hackle off a standard dry fly with your scissors can also make a dry fly more effective. But flies designed specifically as emergers get the profile of an emerging insect just right. You will read about cripples or transitional duns as well as emergers, but I have trouble believing a trout can tell whether a mayfly is in trouble or just emerging.

Certain hatches are best fished with emergers. For Baetis (Blue-Winged Olive), Pale Morning Dun, Pale Evening Dun, March Brown, and Isonychia mayflies, an emerger pattern will almost always outfish a standard dry. And nine times out of ten, you’ll hook more rising fish during caddis and midge hatches with an emerger than with a high floating dry.”

Top to bottom: BWO Emerger, Timerberline Emerger, The Orb Emerger tied by SwittersB


Blue Winged Olives (BWO’s….prolific, small, Winter’s hope)

The ubiquitous (I love that $10. word) Blue Winged Olive. The BWO (not a trucking company or rail line) is a very common mayfly that is on the small side (size 14-20). The nymph is a swimming type (as opposed to crawler, clinger, burrower which necessitate stouter bodies compared to the more slender swimmer) and some key factors for the nymph pattern are: probably split the difference and tie 16’s with some smaller. Keep the abdomen slim and have a slightly heavier thorax (like the guy that only does benches but not squats…the con look) and have a pronounced dark wingpad (Planet Trout reminded me of this from his observations).

If you query Google Images re BWO’s you will see mostly emergers (little, sparse ties on pupa hooks) and chunky dries (trying to put all the components on a size 18 hook) and not too many nymph patterns. Nymphs are prolific in the drifts of streams and occupy varied waters of the stream from rapids to the adjacent quieter waters. Also, BWO’s hatch several times a year so they are worth consideration as a must have pattern on the mayfly side. Not as flashy as the less frequent hex or the green drakes and PMD’s but BWO’s are early Spring fish food and again in the Fall and Winter (or if you are a hearty Winter fisher, you can simply view this as your primary Winter pattern). Other than midges, you have to agree the BWO is busy enough to be frequently available to the trout. As with other mayflies, the early hatches may be larger (say 14-16) and later smaller (16-20 or smaller). If you tie, it has to be simplistic patterns.


I think simplistic Pheasant Tail Nymphs, or Krystal Flash bodies or thread bodies with wire ribbing for segmentation will keep the body (abdomen sparse) and then a thorax slightly thicker will complete a simple pattern.  A nice Scott Richmond piece re BWO’s at Westfly.




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