Blue-winged Olives - Spinners
.............................Fly Fishing Yellowstone National Park

The female Blue-winged Olives and Little Blue-winged Olive spinners deposit their eggs
two or maybe even three different ways. They deposit them on the surface; crawl down
rocks and plant stems to deposit them; or dive and deposit them on objects below the
surface of the water. This probably varies as to species and may vary depending on the
type of water and time of the year. I don't think anyone has pinpointed the particular
method these mayflies use to the point that I can tell you how to determine the method
short of trial and error. That being the case, I can only suggest that you be prepared for
the different types of egg laying activities. It is also possible that these different
methods may occur at the same time.
Normally the spinner fall occurs anywhere from mid-afternoon up until the time it is
completely dark. The early season spinner falls tend to occur earlier in the day than the
late season spinner falls.
Spinner Presentation:
In smooth flowing water, you may be able to spot the trout sipping the spinners from the
surface of the water. In rough, fast flowing water, this is just about impossible. Normally,
if the Olives are crawling down objects to deposit their eggs, they do so in shallower,
calm water. You would probably not be able to spot the trout taking the spinners below
the surface. Then there is always the possibility the trout are taking the spent spinners
that have collected in the eddies and along the banks in calm pockets of water.
I suggest you start out with a dry fly pattern. If you are fishing either an upright wing
spinner pattern or a spent imitation, you are probably going to need to use a long, light
leader and tippet. A ten or twelve-foot long combined leader and 6X tippet would be a
typical setup for this.
If you do not get good results from fishing an upright wing or spent spinner
pattern on the surface, I suggest you change to a wet fly
or fly that imitates those
that deposit their eggs below the surface of the water.
All in all, we have had mixed results from the Blue-winged Olive spinner falls in
Yellowstone. Spinner falls from the late season hatches have brought us better results
than the early season hatches. This may only be due to the fact the afternoons are
much longer and the weather is usually more stable than it is in the early season. The
Little Blue-winged Olive spinner falls have brought mixed results depending on the type
of water we were fishing. In the smooth water of the Madison and Firehole Rivers, for
example, we have watched large trout sipping the spinners from the surface when they
ignored our imitations. Every once in a while, we were able to hook one of the larger
fish, but most of the time we ended up with a small rainbow on the line. Catching
spinner sipping trout in the fast moving but smooth, slick water is not easy. It requires
an almost perfect presentation of a very good imitation of the spinners.
We have caught trout using wet imitations of spinners but we are not positive that the
trout took the fly for a Blue-winged Olive spinner. They could have been
opportunistically feeding trout.

Coming Up Next:
Blue-winged Olive - Fly Pattern Colors

Copyright 2008 James Marsh