With this typical spring weather, some sun and then cloud cover with cool temperatures, the conditions are right for Blue Wing Olive hatches on our tailwaters and freestone rivers. We're seeing BWO nymphs and emergers, and when the water temp is right, adults hatching in the mid-afternoon. It's time to either be packing two rods -- one for nymph rigs and one for dry flies -- or be prepared to switch out when the adults pop. From Deckers to the Arkansas running through Bighorn Sheep Canyon to the Roaring Fork, this pattern is catching fish.
I was walking the path alongside the Roaring Fork on Friday when I spotted this fish in about 10" of water and only about four feet from the bank. He was looking up, feeding on emergers and some sparse adult BWOs, rising with some rhythm then ducking back down in the rocks. I backtracked downstream from him and put on a BWO pattern.
I watched him rise for a few minutes. He rose in two different foamy seams, one close to the bank and one further out. I cast to him. Again. And again. I swapped out one BWO pattern for another. I cast to him again. And again. He rose - then changed his mind. I waited to see if I had spooked him enough to make him wary. I had probably cast over him 20 times by this point.
While I waited to see if he would rise again, I tied on yet another pattern -- and dropped down to a size 20. He started rising again, sipping flies out of that foamy run. I put the fly down on the seam toward the middle of the river. Mended. He rose, sipped, and was on.
He isn't a hawg. He was one of those memorable fish because he pushed me to choose the right BWO pattern, present it with the right drift, and stay patient enough to watch and wait.
Orvis 101 Introduction to Fly Fishing
Early season stillwater Fundamentals-Classroom