Blue-winged Olives might be the fly fisher’s best friend in the mayfly world. No, they’re not big. They’re not terribly enticing to tie a the vise. But, damn, on any blustery day, they could show up and quickly move up the menu for feeding trout.

I love to fish the South Fork of the Snake in the fall with a box bursting with size 20 BWOs. The Henry’s Fork, on cloudy, unsettled days in the spring, is a BWO factory.

Above, Matt Grobert ties the Improved BWO Sparkle Dun, a surprisingly easy pattern to craft and, since Matt is tying it in a size 18, it’s something even us fat-fingered tiers can tackle. I love the use of Zelon in this pattern—it’s great tail and wing material that doesn’t get enough love from a lot of tiers. I would fish this pattern without any floatant—kind of as an emerging dun, honestly, just because of the way it rides in the surface film. Come spring, when those blustery March and April days hit the upper valley, this pattern will be in the box.

— Chris Hunt

By Chris Hunt. 

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