Posts Tagged ‘BWO


Fly Tying: Spool of Thread BWO?

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

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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.


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.





BWO’s (Most Waters~Most Places) Rick Hafele, A Great Source

BWO Nymph

BWO Nymph

So what makes these small mayflies so important to the fly fisher? One reason is that they occur in nearly every type of flowing water habitat. Their worldwide distribution attests to their ability to adapt to many different conditions. They live in streams from sea level to over 10,000 feet high, from alkaline spring creeks to acidic mountain streams, and from hot desert streams to frigid arctic waters. For example, while studying a small desert stream in western Colorado I found Baetis tricaudatus to be one of the most abundant aquatic insects present. At the same time, during study in Alaska, I found Baetis bicaudatus a significant component of the invertebrate community. Water temperatures may be an important factor affecting the distribution of different species. Within the large range of habitats utilized by species of Baetis, the largest populations tend to occur where lush beds of aquatic plants grow in rich spring creeks, or in shallow, fast flowing gravelly riffles of freestone streams and rivers. And wherever Baetis species are abundant they provide a near constant and readily available food supply for many aquatic organisms, including trout.


BWO Primer for this FF staple

RS2~BWO Emerger

RS2~BWO Emerger

I want to share a Dave Whitlock quote from Dave Whitlock’s Guide to Aquatic Trout Foods;

“Far less than 10 percent of all fly fishers have enough working knowledge of this insect [mayflies] to identify, match and fish it successfully when trout are feeding on its various life stages.” Whitlock then warns; “This is because all aspects of fly fishing have traditionally suffered from far too much complication spawned by “experts” using their hard-earned knowledge to bewilder and discourage (if unconsciously) the newcomer.  Unpronounceable Latin…confusing biological terms and irrelevant facts from chemistry and biology turned me…off to the simple, beautiful and basic facts about playing fly-fishing’s finest game to recognize, match and fish trout foods as close to nature as our artificial means and personal abilities allow”.   



Fly Tying Intell…Know the prey…



Thornton’s Freshwater Shrimp
Hook: Scud/Caddis Pupa 12-16, Thread: To match body, Legs: Light Dun Hackle, Body: Translucent Nymph Skin, colored with marker, Author: Base on Steve Thornton’s pattern, Notes: Tie in hackle and skin at bend. With each wrap, pull hack downwards, taking care not to distort wrap and to keep legs in midline. Should give this realistic looking angling of the legs forward and backwardsthorntonsfreshwatershrimp

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