by Tom Bie
Blue-winged olives are sometimes called “drab” – defined by Webster as “monotonous” or “dull”. But I think that’s a wholly inappropriate term. Winter is monotonous. Waiting for bugs is monotonous. Frozen lakes and rivers are monotonous. Bluewings are the bridge leading away from monotony, not toward it – they’re almost always the first real flies to appear, and they look a lot less like lint than midges do. Being the winning mayflies in March and April, they also tend to coincide with all those first trips of the season, when you forget most of your crap in the garage, break off half your fish with that 2X to 6X tippet connection, and celebrate in some still-frozen campground with a couple of friends and an oversupply of alcohol.
In fact, baetis provide the best reason to get off the couch come spring. You can nymph all winter long if you want to, but when baseball’s on the tube and tulips are in the yard (or the neighbor’s yard, as the case may be), you just feel like trying dries, and since the best hatches come in crappy weather, you have a built-in excuse for not spending the day doing yard work. Besides, if a little parachute adams isn’t about best fly to throw, then I don’t know what is. It’s the fly that allows you, after five months of tying and fishing with an indicator, to reel in, take off that stupid nymph rig you never liked anyway, and finally put on a damn dry fly. Big Horn or Big Thompson, Green or Gallatin, Henry’s Fork or Holston, you know theyÂ’re hatching right now. So put down that remote and go.