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Baetis good BWO Fishing! 

Why?  Cuz they are hatching! Not only is it that time of year, but I’ve been seeing them in the water samples I’ve been getting. This first picture shows a dun that actually hatched in my sampling tray.   It is a nice picture because you can see both a dun, and in the upper left corner, a nymph (albeit upside down).  The second picture shows a better picture of a nymph.   Although honestly, these are probably genus Heterocloeon rather than Baetis, but the fish don’t speak Latin.  But it brings up a good point, namely that “Blue Winged Olives” are complicated. 

There are a mess of different species that anglers call Blue Winged Olives.   Some are in family Baetidae (which are what are hatching now) while others are in family Ephemerellidae (and they hatch later in the season – well, can be as early as May).  The important point, however, is that these Baetid Blue Winged Olives nymphs are in the “swimmer” or “minnow-like” mayfly category – meaning they look and behave differently.   Note the how the nymphs have a streamlined shape – larger towards the head, but narrowing like a minnow.   More importantly, they are very active swimmers – with a quick darting action.  

Given that, I like a Pheasant Tail Nymph to imitate them, size 20 to 16 imitated with quick short jerks.     The nymphs will often drift below the surface when hatching, so emergers are great fun to fish.    For emergers, we have Rosenbauer’s Rabbits Foot CDC Baetis, and Indicator Parachute BWOs.   And of course we have plenty of BWO dry flies in various styles.   Sizes 14 to 20 are good for both the emergers or duns.   In terms of times for hatching – it is often weather dependent – with cool rainy weather hatches occurring in the afternoon, while sunny day hatches occur in the late morning.    BWOs are famous for hatching in the kind of dreary weather we’ve been having lately.   

So – get out there, and catch some fish and then stop by the shop and let us know how you did! 

Eric the bug man




Selene of Maine



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