Posts Tagged ‘BWO


Planet Trout’s BWO Extravaganza


Check out Tim Barker’s Planet Trout site. He has a vast array of Blue Winged Olive patterns, excellent photos along with many valuable links & resources.


Fly Tying: Lil’ Grey Nymph (Simple Gem)

The Lil’ Grey Nymph: I have posted before re this simple fly I came up with (I didn’t want to say ‘designed’) several years ago. I want to point to it again because several times, this past Summer, it was so productive I had to grin and shake my head given the flies simplicity. You can mix up the body color and ribbing color, but keep it sparse and smallish (14-18). Don’t fret over the bushy tail, although it can be trimmed to fewer fibers. Give it a try and let me know if you have success with it. 



Swimmer Nymphs & Pheasant Tail Backstrap

The Swimmer Nymph: The slender bodied nymph that undulates to the surface film (as opposed to crawlers, clingers, borrowers). Blue Winged Olives generally fall into this category and are often considered, over all, one of the more important mayfly species to learn about. Below, Pheasant Tail fibers are an excellent material to help represent that slender, swimming body. It was also used here for the wing case and gives that fuzzy effect. The Pheasant Tail fibers were run back over the top of the abdomen and extended into the tail. I wrapped the wire ribbing forward over the top of the pheasant tail pieces to secure them (Skip Nymph technique for back strap over abdomen). Some, in a more exacting style, would opt for fewer pheasant tail fibers, say 3, in an attempt for matching the natural image (3 tails).


Fly Tying: Simple Thread Bodies

The vast majority of the flies you tie with have material wound onto the shank of the hook to form the abdomen/thorax of the fly. On smaller flies, I have experimenting with a more minimalist style of tying. On some patterns, I have simply used the tying thread for the abdomen with maybe a ribbing of thread as well. The results have been favorable for emergers & dries.

In the above pattern, the Olive Zelon tail/shuck was tied in at the thorax and the olive 14/0 thread was wrapped down the shank toward the bend and then back up to the thorax are. That is the extent of the body (abdomen). There is one turn of dyed olive peacock herl to form a thorax, a tuft of CDC for the swept back wing and a few turns of brown hackle. The thread head is finished off with the same olive tying thread.

Here, I wrapped the olive thread body and went with another color thread to provide a ribbed/segmented appearance. It really doesn't work. The threads appear to have been twisted and when wrapped does not lie flat. The strands of CDC hanging down to the sides would provide life like motion, but again, this was unintentional and created by the hackle wraps, which forced a few strands downward...a good thing possibly. This is why I need to only tie with my new goggles, to better see the mistakes and correct as I go. Does the fly's outcome matter? Probably not, but at some point, does one seek uniformity or tie willy-nilly? For you to decide.


BWO’s: Small Nymph Time for Winter

Patience Brewster

As a beginning fly tier, you may be jumping all over the map with your tying. Perhaps as the trout season slows down a bit hatch wise, now is a good time to catch up on tying a fly fishing staple and it will also serve you well through the Winter season (if you venture out in the cold to chase trout…a steelheader will, of course, relish this masochistic time of year).

SwittersB Fly Box (Direct Sunlight Shot per advice of Planet Trout)

Tie up a bunch of Pheasant Tail Nymphs and fish the little beauties for the coming Blue Winged Olive’s this Fall and then again in late Winter/early Spring. I am sure you tied a few of these in your beginning fly tying course last Winter. Now revisit the pattern and tie a bunch more in sizes 14, 16 and yes 18’s.

Pheasant Tail Nymph (SwittersB)

In addition to Blue Winged Olives (BWO), you should consider/research some “Little Dark Stones” and Chironomids/Midges. 



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: Winter BWO


BWO (SwittersB)

A simple Blue Winged Olive pattern comprised of the following materials:

Hook: TMC 100BL, 1x fine wire, dry fly style hook

Thread: 14/0, SHEER, olive green forms the abdomen.

Tail: Gadwall feather fibers, dyed light green (Waters West, Port Angeles, Wa.)

Wing: CDC, Dark Dun (Doug’s Bugs, Santa Rosa, Cal.)

Hackle: Medium Dun, Size 18 (Whiting Farms, Delta, Colo.)


Fly Tying: Spool of Thread BWO?

Ok, not a spool of thread, rather a thread body.

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c/o Fly Fishing Evolution


Fly Tying: BWO Experiments (Not Quite…)

I am avoiding the upright wings of split hackle tips or mallard barbs. I am aware the silhouette of upright wings is often called for. Also, this was slightly lower grade cock hackle…not quite stiff enough. So, still happy with the wrapped abdomen of peacock herl quill. The tail also, needs stiffer barbs or fibbets. Almost there. Well, at least for my undisciplined self.


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.

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September 2020

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