Fly Fishing for Trout Home
User Password
or register.
Scientific name search:

> > A general understanding of BWO patterns

AndyVOctober 12th, 2022, 10:17 pm
Twin Cities

Posts: 9
One of the most prolific group of mayflies in the Midwest, Blue Wing Olives is a general label used for several species of mayflies in a few different families. Knowing which specific ones hatch on your stream allows you to hone in on color, size, habitat, emergence and spinner falls. Some species can change color between emergence and a few minutes after emergence so understanding color of emergence is important.

Within the actual flies I tie for BWOs, I have a myriad of beadhead and non-beadhead nymphs, emerger patterns, cripple patterns, dries, spinners and egg layers. I will start a BWO pre-hatch with nymphs, probably 1 beadhead and one without (the beadhead helps get the fly deeper and can be an attractor when water is off-color). Note: on heavily-fished water, beadheads can actually be detrimental. I often use emergers for all water types (still, runs, riffles) and certain dries for certain water followed by spinners if the dries stop working. Remember that at any time, other insects might be on the water so be observant and watch rise forms for a key as to what might be happening.

Here are a few of the many patterns out there to give you a better understanding of what is possible for tying BWOs (note: I excluded egg patterns but you get the picture). I have my favorites, and I often will talk to fly shops when traveling to new waters just to see what they say (it never hurts to buy a fly or two from them out of courtesy). Pheasant tail patterns and hare's ears are also high on my list depending on the mayfly coming off - there is a reason they've been around for so long.

Start with finding the bugs on your water and then adapt a few patterns to fish a hatch cycle and see how it goes. These are larger images but it looks like the links below my name are working.


Quick Reply

You have to be logged in to post on the forum. It's this easy:
Username:          Email:

Password:    Confirm Password:

I am at least 13 years old and agree to the rules.

Related Discussions

TitleRepliesLast Reply
Re: curious about gear
In Gear Talk by Trtklr
11Dec 7, 2008
by Martinlf
Re: Dark Hendrickson wings
In Fly Tying by Roguerat
5May 9, 2013
by Roguerat
Re: Steelhead Alley - OH & PA
In Fishing Reports by Wbranch
2Oct 27, 2019
by Wbranch
Re: Baetis Nymph, Is this it?
In General Discussion by Lastchance
1Mar 10, 2013
by Martinlf
Re: Invaria Spinners
In Male Eurylophella Mayfly Spinner by Martinlf
10Aug 10, 2007
by JAD
Re: Differences I'm dying to know about
In the Mayfly Genus Tricorythodes by Reify
2Jul 9, 2018
by Martinlf
Re: life cycle
In General Discussion by Ladder34
2Aug 28, 2011
by Sayfu
Re: Green midge larvae?
In General Discussion by Simon77777
3Jan 25, 2023
by Wiflyfisher
Re: Where's Taxon or Gonzo?
In Penelomax septentrionalis Mayfly Nymph by Oldredbarn
7Jan 22, 2010
by Taxon
Re: Hendrickson nymph
In Ephemerella subvaria Mayfly Nymph by Martinlf
3Dec 27, 2006