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Making the most of a rainy day

Jim Kanda

It’s Saturday morning, the beginning of your weekend and you roll out of bed to find it’s overcast and rainy.

What to do? Stay in bed for a few more hours? Perhaps take in an afternoon matinee down at the local theater?

Not if you’re me! The first thing that would come to my mind would be the notion that a rainy day is a great day to be out on our local waters experiencing one of nature’s most beautiful insect hatches, the blue-winged olive. Often when conditions are less than favorable for fishermen, those same conditions may be perfect for an unbelievable day of fishing and catching. You may be asking yourself ‘what exactly is a blue winged olive?’ To many people, it is a very small mayfly with slate grey wings and an olive or bluish body. To some fly fisher-nerds, they are referred to by their common Latin name, baetids, which are members of the family baetidae. I’ll spare you and stop there!

It doesn’t matter if you call them baetis or b.w.o.s, these tiny insects are important to the fish that feed on them, and to the fly fisherman. Found throughout the Rocky Mountain region and even on the East Coast, b.w.o.s are a year-round food source for many trout.

The best hatches of b.w.o.s occur when conditions are rainy and overcast. These hatches typically begin during the latter part of the morning and continue into the afternoon hours. If you are fortunate enough to time it right and find yourself in the middle of a b.w.o hatch, it can be quite the spectacle. All around you will be millions of tiny little mayflies, many of which will float by on the water’s surface like tiny sailboats or flutter by on the afternoon’s cool breeze. Coincidentally, the same conditions that are ideal for this hatch are also perfect conditions for trout to feed on or near the water’s surface. Due to the disturbance created by raindrops breaking the surface of the water, trout tend to move toward the upper parts of the water column in search of cooler, more oxygenated conditions. In addition to these more hospitable conditions, trout have come to learn that rain means food and safety. The falling raindrops knock blue-winged olives and other insects onto or just under the water’s surface, allowing trout to safely gorge just out of sight from the watchful eyes of a predator. You can literally stand in a downpour of rain, fish a long, flat run and see dozens of gluttonous fish rhythmically rising on these tiny morsels.

Here in Eagle Valley, we have been experiencing great hatches of blue-winged olives, and yes, they have been coinciding with our afternoon rain showers. Remember that when conditions are less then ideal for you that these same conditions are near perfect for our little finned friends. Some great b.w.o patterns to try are: Extended Body Perfect BWO, Q’s Hackle Stacker BWO, CDC Biot Comparadun BWO, Furmisky’s BDE BWO, Pablo’s Cripple Baetis, Almost Dun BWO, Befus’ Parachute Emerger BWO, Barr’s BWO Emerger, Sparkle Wing RS2, Loopwing BWO Emerger, JuJuBaetis, Battwing Baetis, Glass Beaded Micro Mayfly, Heng’s BLM’s and the old standby, Tung.

” Jim Kanda | Gore Creek Fly Fisherman


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