How to Tie: The Blue Wing Olive


In this week’s “How to Tie” video feature, Youtuber Danzchannel teaches us how to tie the Blue Wing Olive.

Learn About This Fly:

When considering the classical dry fly patterns that define fly fishing as we know it, the Blue Wing Olive is about as iconic as they come. Also referred to as the BWO, this fly is built to imitate the Baetis mayfly, a small mayfly known for its olive body and dun (or grey) wings. Considering the notably minuscule size of this fly, it is often recommended they be tied on a size 18-22 hook, and while yes, that may LOOK to small to be effective, you’d be shocked to see how commonly these little buggers will trigger big trout.

Something special about the BWO is not only their ability to draw selective trout to the surface, but their extreme versatility. Often times considered “the winter bug” BWO’s have a hatch cycle that can be drawn on even in the encroaching cold months of winter. A dry fly purist’s best weapon, the Blue Wing Olive will oftentimes be the only topwater bug that hatches during the cold months, not just making them a solid part of a trout’s diet, but a refreshing break for anglers sick of winter nymphing.

When tying these flies, consider the following. If you’re new to the game, working with these tiny little hooks can be frustrating, and you may not get your desired result on the first try. However, with enough practice (and maybe a pair of reader glasses), you’ll be tossing tiny mayflies in no time. Another thing to consider is that while the name suggests a very rigid formula, these flies are open to interpretation. Many tiers like to add small features like flash or different color body’s in order to accommodate for changing bug patterns as the seasons’ pass.


Now you know how to tie the Blue Wing Olive!


Video and Ingredients courtesy of Danzachannel

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