March 08, 2021

Spring is knocking on the doorstep.  We are breaking out of what I like to refer to as the “dark to dark days”.  That’s when you wake up in the morning and it’s dark, you drive to work in the dark, and then you leave work and it’s dark.  But the days just keep inching forward and getting a little bit brighter everyday.  Spring is on the horizon, and that’s got me day dreaming about Blue Winged Olives.

The Blue Winged Olive (Baetis) is a very common mayfly.  They are found in spring creeks, freestones, and tail waters.  BWOs are one of the most common species of mayflies, and they are the first major mayfly hatch of Spring, signaling like an alarm clock that it’s time to get out on the water.  

So in order to get ready for the first solid hatch of the year, we present to you the CDC BWO.  Sure there are lots of different BWO patterns out there, but this one is my personal favorite.  It is simple, and fish seem to love it.  Simple and effective is a tough combination to beat.  Its major drawback is that after you catch a few fish and the fly gets slimed it can be a pain in the ass to get it to float or even see where it is.  This is usually just a sign to tie on a fresh fly.  That’s why you tie them anyways, right?   This pattern's slim profile makes it look pretty realistic so it’s a great pattern for fooling picky spring creek fish.  The cast and the drag free drift are on you and probably even more important than the fly at the end of the day.  But that debate is a whole other topic.

Here’s what you need to get started.

  • Hook: Size 18 or smaller dry fly hook (I used caddis hooks on this batch to give them an emerger look)
  • Thread: Olive thread 
  • Tail: Microfibets (select the colors that you like)
  • Wing: Cul de Canard (CDC)

Start by wrapping the thread on the hook.

Tie in the microfibets and split the tail. Continue to build up the body to a tapered cone shape.I have made this fly with and without dubbing.  I prefer to fish it without dubbing and build up a thread body instead.  I like the slim profile and I think it makes a difference with picky fish.

Then tie in some CDC for the wing casing.  Get it good and puffy.  I like to densely pack in as much CDC as I can.  More CDC = better floating fly.  That is the trick to this fly.  Too little CDC and the fly turns into an emerger which will still catch fish, but you can’t beat watching the strike on a dry fly.

Tie in the head, glue it, and then crank out the next.  These are one of my go-to dry flies for anytime of the year when BWOs or other small mayfly are popping off.  I also scale this pattern up to a size 16 for sulfurs, light cahills, and with a gray body for a generic small profile mayfly.


Tie up a few and get out and try them out. Hit us up for a free sticker if you tag us with a fish caught with this fly pattern.  Get out there and get loose.  Tag us at #LooseCannonOutdoors with your fish pics for a chance to be featured on our social media and win some more swag. 

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