Hatches Made Easy:
Little Blue-winged Olives:
There are several species of mayflies found in the Smokies included in what is
commonly called “Little Blue-Winged Olives". The Acentrella genus of the
Baetidae family includes the turbida species that are commonly called “tiny”
blue-winged olives. These species may have three separate hatches, occurring
in the spring, summer and fall. The official park list of insects includes the ampla
species that we are not familiar with. That should make no difference to you in
matching these small mayflies.
The Dannella genus of the Ephemerellidae family includes two species in the
park, the lita and simplex. These are crawler mayflies as opposed to the
swimmers above. Some anglers call these "Small Blue-winged Olives".
The genus Diphetor of the Baetidae family also has the hageni species. These
are also referred to by many as Little Blue-winged Olives and sometimes, “Little
Iron Blue Quills”. These are swimmers.
There may be even more of these little olives in the park. You can find some of
them hatching throughout the year quite often. Some are so small that they
look like midges and if the light is not just right, you may not even see them.
Don't think that because they are small that the trout don't feed on them
because they certainly do.
In the late fall and early winter months you will see these often. Usually you can
spot them dancing as they begin to mate. They are more important at that
time of year because they are one of a few hatches taking place.
Since some of these nymphs are crawlers, imitations representing those nymphs
should be fished on or very near the bottom. Use a weighted imitation or added
split shot and fish it up and across on the swing in calm areas of pocket water,
tail ends of ripples and the very end of long runs.
As you can see, there are several species of small mayflies anglers call Little
Olives, Blue-Winged Olives, Small Blue-Winged Olives and other similar names.
In summary, they range from a size (18) eighteen down to very small sizes as
small as a (24) twenty-four, hook size.
Although the exact colors vary from species to species and sometimes, stream-
to-stream, they all are grayish, olive to emerald colored little flies, usually with
gray wings. They hatch for as long as a few weeks, sometimes twice a year and
sometimes three times during the year, providing a longer period of time that
hatches are occurring in the Smokies than any other group of mayflies.
Like them or hate them, you had better learn to fish them if you are
going to fish mayfly hatches in the Smokies very often.
Fishing the Hatches:
You want to fish these hatches the same way as the "Blue-winged Olive" hatches
in our previous post. The only difference is that these are generally smaller
mayflies and the females do not dive to deposit their eggs like the baetis
species. They dip down to the water and knock the eggs off. You also may want
to note that we have had little to no success with the spinners. Some of the
spinner activity, depending on the species, occurs in the evenings. That don't
mean spinner imitations don't work. It just means we haven't done well with them.
We would like to hear from any of you that have.
Coming Up Next:
Little Blue-winged Olives: Colors for Fly Patterns
Copyright 2008 James Marsh