Blue Winged Olive

The most common Mayfly in the Central Region - and most other places. Return to Hatch Chart

Common Name:  Blue Winged Olive (BWO)

Technical Name: Referred to as Baetis; however, in general represents a large group of species (>40) that are similar in appearance

Habitat: This insect is widely distributed and common to all streams from the smallest streams to the largest rivers (Stream as Order: 1 – 5*) where moderate to fast currents flow over boulders, cobble, gravel and submerged logs and tree limbs.

Behaviors & Fishing Hints: Larvae are available to trout as they actively swim about, living on exposed current swept areas and occasionally drift downstream, especially at dusk.

Larvae are readily fished while swimming to the surface and as an emerger transform into an adult while struggling through the surface film and as a dun, briefly ride downstream.

Duns molt their exoskeleton becoming a  sexually maturity spinner, form mating swarms from which females return to the stream either touching their abdomen on the surface or diving beneath to lay eggs.

Plan to fish the cloudy, misty damp days because BWO prefer to these conditions from mid-morning to late afternoon throughout spring, summer and fall. In cold winter months though, emergence is restricted to warm mid-afternoons on sunny days.

Fly Patterns:

  • Larvae: Pheasant tail, Olive Hare’s Ear, Black Spider
  • Emerger: Irish Emerger, Film Critic
  • Adult: Adams, Blue Wing Olive,  Little Iron Blue Quill

Sizes: #20 – #18

Locations: All streams and rivers

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