W3. The Blue Winged Olive Wet Fly
WET FLY PATTERNS. Hook size 12 14 - $US each
There are many species blue-winged olive mayflies. Hatches begin as early as late September and continue until April, with the best activity in February and early March. Those fly fishermen that only pick up their rod in the late spring and summer months really miss some fine fishing. The scientific name is genus Baetis (pronounce beet-us)and Diphetor but the are more commonly known as BWOs, blue wing or tiny olives. Hatches normally start just after lunch. I have had the best hatches on days when it is drizzling. Search out back-eddies on the river. This is where I normally find blue-winged olive circle endlessly around and around. I think they like the air currents and this is where you will find the trout ready to suck them down. This fly also works well in slow run stretches of water. Use your eyes and hunt the swarms. The Pheasant Tail Nymph and Gold Ribbed Hare's Ear nymphs are ideal imitations for the blue-winged olive's early stages. Drift them near the bottom any day between September to April that is if your part of the world is not covered in ice.
A wet fly is designed to be fished below the water's surface. They are tied as deceivers or attractors. The success of the wet fly often depends far more on its action in the water than on its resemblance to a particular insect, but this is not always the case. When fish are on the feed the actual pattern is generally not important, but when the fish are preoccupied or need tempting the angler must use ingenuity to discover what the fish are feeding on and what color they are taking. When fishing wet flies, it is important to remember that the higher the wave on the water the higher the fly hook size can be, but still take into account the brightness and clarity of the water.
Trout do see subsurface insects with wings. Some flies begin to hatch below the water surface. The Baetis group of up-winged flies swim or crawl beneath the surface as adult spinners in order to lay egg. There are occasions when duns and spent spinners are swamped by the current and forced under the water surface. Emerging duns that have been unable to get rid of their nymphal case or at the time of emerging are drowned when they float under rough water that is flowing over a large rock or ledge are also hunted by the fish. The trout on purpose lurk in slack water near eddies and small plunge pools to look out for these type of snacks. Clearly a trout does see winged insects under the surface at certain times of the year so be prepared with a selection of different colored wet flies for when the fish are not taking from the surface.
FLY FISHING TACTICS FOR FISHING IN THE RAIN
I like to fish wet flies in the rain. If you are one of those fine weather fishermen you are missing a lot of sport. On sunny days the fish swim near the bottom of the river, lake or stream for a number of reasons. They do not have eye lids and the sun can damage the eyes. More importantly the warmer the water becomes the less oxygen it can hold. Fish find warm water uncomfortable. The colder the water temperature the more oxygen the water can hold. When it rains the disturbance caused on the water surface increases the oxygen content of the upper levels of water because when the water droplets force their way through the water surface air gets trapped behind it. If it is raining it normally means the sky is overcast and therefore the temperature of the water decreases. This cooling effect is also helped by the rain drops which are normally cold and help cool the upper water levels of the lake or river to a more pleasant fish friendly environment.
They feel safer as choppy water makes them invisible to birds of prey. Heavy rain will knock airborne and surface insects down and into the water. More fish than normal rise from their bottom feeding location to the surface to feed from this bounty of drowned insects. Heavy rain also washes terrestrial insects like ants, beetles and Hoppers into the water from the land, overhanging trees and shrubs. Summer storms are primetime for subsurface fishing with a wet fly. Further advantages of fishing in heavy rain is that perfect fly presentation is less important. A fish who is stimulated by the abundance of drowned insect food, whilst on the look out for predators, will not have time to consider such things.
When the all the fair-weather fishermen are hiding under trees, in fishing huts or in their cars to keep dry, you will reap the rewards of some exciting fishing if you stay out in the rain. Just cast out your fly and let the rain drown it, just like what is happening to the real insects. Do not add any floatant. It is best to cast frequently as you will cover more water and I have found that the fly is normally taken just after it has broken the water surface. Fishing in heavy rain is an ideal time to try out new patterns . Trout have learned to expect a variety of different foods, not normally available to them,
These game fish are very abundant throughout Alberta, British Columbia and many of the western states of the USA. The most popular flies are beaded Prince's Nymph, Gold Ribbed Hares Ears and wet flies like the Royal Coachman in size #12 to #16. Some of the more popular streams for mountain whitefish in Alberta are the Athabasca, North Saskatchwan, Red Deer, Bow, Highwood, Sheep, Oldman, Livingstone, Crowsnest, Castle, Waterton, Belly and St Mary rivers. Spawning occurs from late September to early November over gravelbeds. The eggs are broadcast not buried in s redd like salmoniods. They are a long lived species with a 20 year old specimen being recorded in a reservoir and they can grow to over 5lbs. Autumn fall period is the traditional time to catch mountain whitefish, as after gathering to spawn in late August they move into over wintering pools where they remain until spring breaks. Use a pair of polarized sunglasses. They tend to move around a lot. Look for flashes of silver as they jostle for position in the current. It is not uncommon to find over 50 fish hold up in the same pool. During the summer Mountain whitefish tend to favour turbulent pocket water as well as deep runs and large pool. Mountain whitefish are popular as a table fish and fantastic when smoked - particularly the smaller ones.
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