Header image
Enter a name
Lateral view of a Male Baetis (Baetidae) (Blue-Winged Olive) Mayfly Dun from Mystery Creek #43 in New York
Blue-winged Olives

Tiny Baetis mayflies are perhaps the most commonly encountered and imitated by anglers on all American trout streams due to their great abundance, widespread distribution, and trout-friendly emergence habits.

Dorsal view of a Zapada cinctipes (Nemouridae) (Tiny Winter Black) Stonefly Nymph from the Yakima River in Washington
Nymphs of this species were fairly common in late-winter kick net samples from the upper Yakima River. Although I could not find a key to species of Zapada nymphs, a revision of the Nemouridae family by Baumann (1975) includes the following helpful sentence: "2 cervical gills on each side of midline, 1 arising inside and 1 outside of lateral cervical sclerites, usually single and elongate, sometimes constricted but with 3 or 4 branches arising beyond gill base in Zapada cinctipes." This specimen clearly has the branches and is within the range of that species.
27" brown trout, my largest ever. It was the sub-dominant fish in its pool. After this, I hooked the bigger one, but I couldn't land it.
Troutnut is a project started in 2003 by salmonid ecologist Jason "Troutnut" Neuswanger to help anglers and fly tyers unabashedly embrace the entomological side of the sport. Learn more about Troutnut or support the project for an enhanced experience here.

Dorsal view of a Male Baetidae (Blue-Winged Olive) Mayfly Nymph from the Bois Brule River in Wisconsin
This male nymph is probably in its final instar. The wing pads are extremely black and the large turbinate eyes are very apparent inside the nymph's head.
Martinlf's profile picture
Palmyra PA

Posts: 3047
Martinlf on Dec 23, 2006December 23rd, 2006, 12:30 pm EST
OK, this olive nymph seems to have a good bit of grey in it. I know colors vary a lot among baetids, but I'm wondering about a good general color for shucks. And nymphs. Are most of them more olive than this? Or is it too hard to generalize? Also, I notice darker and lighter segments in the abdomen. I've noted this in subvaria's and try to get a lighter band just ahead of the darker tail segment in nymphs I tie for them. Perhaps this is a good idea with baetid nymphs as well.
"He spread them a yard and a half. 'And every one that got away is this big.'"

--Fred Chappell
Site Editor
"Bear Swamp," PA

Posts: 1681
GONZO on Dec 26, 2006December 26th, 2006, 1:28 pm EST

Baetidae includes so many species that generalization about color is virtually impossible. Even the common name "blue-winged olive" is a nasty joke. Adult (and nymph) body colors range from yellow to chartreuse to olive to olive-brown to reddish-brown to dark brown. Wing colors vary from very light grey (nearly white) to very dark grey (nearly black). Although color may be less significant in tiny mayflies, the only way to be accurate is to become familiar with local species.

That said, however, this might be one instance where generalized patterns with blended or "spectrumized" dubbing can be very useful. Until patterns based on specific local color variations can be devised, a light and dark "baetis" nymph in useful sizes (say #16-22) will probably serve to fool all but the fussiest trout. Make one dubbing blend lighter and more olive, and the other darker and more brown. A similar approach could be used on duns and shucks (utilizing a darker and lighter blend of all the colors listed in the first paragraph). I think this is a good compromise approach for many genera/species that display wide color variations.

By the way, as an aid to developing more specific imitations, some of the most important local (PA) species are B. tricaudatus, B. intercalaris, Diphetor hageni, Acentrella turbida, and Plauditus punctriventris (listed in my totally subjective order of significance).

Quick Reply

Related Discussions

Last Reply
Apr 4, 2009
by Martinlf
Apr 2, 2013
by Feathers5
Troutnut.com is copyright © 2004-2024 (email Jason). privacy policy