Hatches Made Easy:

Eastern Blue-Winged Olives - Nymphs (Drunella species)


Even though they are crawlers, the Drunella nymphs live in fast flowing streams
but they are more common in the moderate to low gradient areas of the streams
in the Smokies. They range in color from dark brown to almost black. They stay
down between the rocks on the bottom but they are exposed to the trout much
more than the clinger nymphs.

The crawler nymphs are poor swimmers but they do swim. When they mature to
the point that they are ready to emerge, they migrate by crawling and swimming
from the faster to slower moving water of the stream. Usually this is only a few
Fishing an imitation of these nymphs is a good idea because near the time they
hatch, there are few large crawler nymphs left in the water. Most all of the
crawlers have already hatched. There are not near as many clinger nymphs left
in the streams because most of them have already hatched. The newly born
nymphs from all the spring hatches are tiny, so the
Drunella nymphs are one of
the most prevalent nymphs in the water at that time of the year. Most of the
other full grown nymphs are swimmers and most of them are also Blue-winged

Drunella nymphs are best imitated by fishing the riffles and pocket water before
they begin emerging or during non-hatch times. They should be weighted and
fished in a dead drift right on the bottom. Use the "high stickin" method of
presentation that I have previously covered.
On the days following days that you have found them hatching, in the mornings
just prior to the duns emerging, try fishing the nymph from the fast water areas
into the slow to moderate moving water such as pockets behind boulders and
along the edges of the stream. The ends of long runs may also produce. If the
water is fairly shallow, and it usually is, you will need to make much longer cast
than usual to prevent spooking the trout. I would still make an upstream or up
and across presentation.
These nymphs
emerge into duns anywhere from the bottom to the
surface, not in the surface skim
like most other species of mayflies. So
fishing an imitation of the nymph even when the big Olives are hatching is not a
bad idea. I will cover the emergers next.

Coming Up Next:
Eastern Blue-winged Olive - Emergers

Copyright 2008 James Marsh
The nymphs are fairly easy to identify.
They look like they have been on
steroids and working out their upper
legs. When you approach them, they
act much like crawfish, backing up but
ready to attack. Note that they do not
remotely resemble the slim, swimming
nymphs of the Blue-winged Olives you
are probably more familiar with. My
normal phase is that a crawler looks as
much like a swimmer as a deer looks
like buffalo.