There is no more essential fly required to sustain success throughout the season than a small blue winged olive imitation. These abundant mayflies hatch nearly year round, if one includes freestone and tailwater fisheries on one’s itinerary. Over the last ten years I settled on a CDC-wing BWO imitation, and it served me well. The CDC BWO is a tiny comparadun, however, I substitute medium dun CDC fibers for deer hair to form a wing. I tie exclusively size 22 and 24 flies, and deer hair contains too much bulk for these diminutive replicas of the baetis mayflies that populate Colorado streams. A slender profile is necessary to convince selective blue winged olive feeders to mistake my flies for naturals.
[peg-image src=”https://lh3.googleusercontent.com/-4E57itaeRQs/WKNbVDePmnI/AAAAAAABHHY/W9y9GVpHNEwW-sEyjzqh3hPwRUoSxy6UwCCo/s144-o/IMG_2608.JPG” href=”https://picasaweb.google.com/108128655430094950653/6387049103009707073?locked=true#6387049113809033842″ caption=”Another One” type=”image” alt=”IMG_2608.JPG” image_size=”1536×2048″ ]
A critical feature of the CDC BWO is the delicate split tails. I use dun microfibbets and strive to create two tail fibers that split at forty-five degree angles from each side of the hook shank. Historically I struggled to acheive this goal while maintaining the tail fibers on an even plain. Last year I searched online and found a brief instructional piece that solved my problem. When I attach the thread, I make a small bump at the rear of the hook shank, and then allow a three inch tag end of the thread to dangle. I tie two microfibbets to the top of the shank and make thread wraps back until I am 1/8 inch from the thread bump. Next I pull the tag end of the thread upward and split the tails and then pull forward and down until the near fiber approximates the position I desire. I switch hands and hold the tag thread with my right hand while I lock it down with a couple thread wraps with the bobbin in my left hand. I once again switch hands, and I continue wrapping thread back toward the bump with my right hand as I preen the fiber on the far side into the correct angle and position. I find that this technique yields nearly perfect split tails every time.
[peg-image src=”https://lh3.googleusercontent.com/-MEprOMfx9vE/WKNbYUclAlI/AAAAAAABHHY/Ygbi5kHdf80qYJSdPOuZg2Uo1yHqdYH0gCCo/s144-o/IMG_2614.JPG” href=”https://picasaweb.google.com/108128655430094950653/6387049103009707073?locked=true#6387049169905058386″ caption=”Nice Close Up of the Feather” type=”image” alt=”IMG_2614.JPG” image_size=”2048×2048″ ]
I counted nineteen size 24 olives in my combined fly bins, so I manufactured six additional imitations to bring my total to 25. Next I inventoried my size 22 supply and discovered 34, so I made an additional six to bring my total to 40. If I am lucky, these flies will see action in the not too distant future, as blue winged olive hatches often commence in the middle of March.
[peg-image src=”https://lh3.googleusercontent.com/-oBy9itQbdNk/WKNbXztQeTI/AAAAAAABHHY/R9D_OUOA2uk_u3WJ62oCGZnTWf–4L19gCCo/s144-o/IMG_2613.JPG” href=”https://picasaweb.google.com/108128655430094950653/6387049103009707073?locked=true#6387049161116645682″ caption=”Dun Microfibbets and CDC” type=”image” alt=”IMG_2613.JPG” image_size=”2048×2048″ ]