Baetis: The Blue Winged Olive

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Hatch Information:

  • General Emergence: Late March-May, Late Sept.-October
  • Emerging Water Temp: 45+ Degrees up to 50
  • #16-20 Olive Green/Brown Bodied Adult
  • Adults have 2 Tails and a Dwarfed Hind Wing

Hatch Summary:

The Baetis hatch in S.E. Minnesota is one of the first hatching mayflies in the spring and is one of the last in the fall. We have two sub-species of Baetis in our waters, Baetis vagans and Baetis quebecensus. These for all intensive purpose can be considered the same with only perhaps a small variation in color/size but not much. For the most part our BWO’s come in #16, #18 and maybe a #20 in the fall months. When the water temp begins to rise into the mid-fourties look for hatching to begin, rainy days or days with cloud cover that keep the water temp from rising too quickly can produce the best prolonged emergence of this insect. In general this is going to be one of the larger hatches in the area and you should be able to find signs of this hatch on most area streams, fish a #16 Pheasant Tail Nymph before emergence and also as a trailer off your dry-fly.

2009 Hatch Report:

Unfortunately this hatch came and went all too quickly for me this season. I fished it only a few times but managed to capture and photograph several specimens for future reference. I believe most of the images are of Baetis vagans. I witnessed hatching begin on March 21st on one area stream, this produced some good dry fly fishing as the trout were shaking the winter months off and were poised to eat in abundance. I should note that on March 21st I think we arrived onstream a bit late and caught the end of the hatching after the water temp had already climbed into the low 50’s. Later in Early-April hatching occurred right around 1pm and lasted for a few hours, I temped the water at 48 degrees as the emergence began, I should note that both of the days I fished this hatch in April were sunny days when the water temp most likely rose quickly which in-turn shortened this length and quantity of the hatch, something to take into consideration this coming season.

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