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Blue Winged Olives

Published: 22nd October 2015 | Author: Paul Procter

Warm summer evenings are evocative of fly fishing, especially when the breeze falls light. For many, it’s the perfect time to grab a rod and steal away for an hour or two. From the sauntering southern chalk streams to Scotland’s brawling spate rivers, one fly in particular is what we hope to see as the shadows grow long, Blue-winged olives (B-WOs) thrive in a variety of rivers and their numbers usually swell come August time.

In truth, what we generally experience as darkness approaches are returning spinners that can at times carpet the surface.

Blue Winged Olives - Paul Procter
What we pray for…spinners littering the surface

Many deliberate as to exact colours for their imitations now and like most, I’m a slave to such things too.  Yet, how important is this, especially considering the lack of any sunlight? Furthermore, recently I’ve come across B-WO spinners of various shades.

Naturally the rusty orange hue we associate with spent spinners is most common, but a sort of washy-washy Olive colour occurs too, especially on female spinners.

Blue Winged Olives - Paul Procter
Two female B-WO spinners, curiously of different shades

Curiously, there’s  a fair few that turn up with dark brown abdomens as well.

Blue Winged Olives - Paul Procter
Some BW spinners appear very dark brown, almost black!

As you can see then questions exists on what body colour might be best?

Something else worth considering is the actual posture of any spinners being washed downstream. Tradition has it many naturals assume that splayed out “crucifix” profile, so often found in the pages of many books and publications.  However, spent spinners frequently end up on their sides, with odd wings missing and minus a few tailing filaments too.  All of which far outnumber that classic spinner shape we’re brought up on.

Of course, it takes a braver man that me to deviate away from say a rusty/mahogany based pattern, but I reckon there’s much more license in terms of your imitation’s profile.  Understandably, I’m a fan of the FM rusty spinner, especially a medallion sheeting wing variation of my own.

Blue Winged Olives - Paul Procter
Medallion Sheeting makes perfect wings for spinner patterns

This flexible material gets swished this way and that, usually ending up as a crumpled mess on the water…a la the naturals.

That doesn’t mean all your existing spread eagle type spinner patterns are now obsolete. If you have the inclination, give them a talking to using a pair of shape scissors.  It’s surprising how effect the usual “go to” yarn winged spinner is with one wing clipped away! Whatever you choose, if you dress your own flies then I recommend the inclusion of TMC aero dry wing in fluorescent yellow. This intense shade is highly visible come last knockings, often giving you a further 10-20 minutes of fishing time.

Blue Winged Olives - Paul Procter
Fluorescent yellow TMC aero dry wing makes perfect posts for spinner patterns 

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