Blue wing olives are coming back
The hatch is back! Blue wing olives, or baetis, are typically on the menu early and late in the year, from late March until mid-May, and then come back during late summer and early fall.
BWOs are typically our first and last major hatches of the year, and this year is no exception.
BWOs are coming off in good numbers on the freestone rivers, but we are a few weeks away from seeing them on the Fryingpan below the dam.
The heaviest of these hatches will be found right now in and around Glenwood Springs on the Colorado River, and on the middle and lower Roaring Fork from Basalt down to Glenwood Springs.
We are seeing baetis hatch all the way up to Aspen on the Roaring Fork, as well, but slightly less in numbers.
The best way to attack this hatch is nymphing before and after you start noticing adults buzzing about.
Baetis nymphs are on the small side and are often pretty dark in color.
They are often best fished behind a San Juan Worm, stonefly or caddis nymph at this time of year. Swinging soft hackle versions of these nymphs can be absolutely deadly, as well.
Be sure to thoroughly fish each pool, riffle or run before moving on to the next, and play around with depth and weight until you find yourself getting in the strike zone.
Once it seems as if every fish in the river is actively rising to adults, it’s time to switch to a double-dry set up or a dry-dropper rig.
I personally like to fish flies that I actually have a chance of seeing on the water surface, especially parachute styles and anything high-vis works best for me. Keep a distance of 24 or so inches between your two dries, and be sure to treat them with your favorite floatant and desiccant to keep them riding high on the water.
The next hatch wave will be caddis, which are already coming off down valley. Once we get consistent high and bright sun, there will be swarms of caddis on the rivers. This is some of the first and best dry fly fishing of the year for us in the Roaring Fork Valley, and I highly suggest that you get out there and take advantage of these hatches and ravenous trout!