This week’s Throw Back Thursday Fly is the LaFontaine Diving Blue-Winged Olive Egg Layer.
A friend of mine recently gave me this fly purportedly tied by Gary LaFontaine himself and I thought it would be a great candidate for a TBT fly.
To be honest, I didn’t really know much about the diving activity of the BWO. My fishing partner and I recently discussed the fact we haven’t seen BWO spinners on the water. We guessed it may be due to the fact the spinner fall happened in the evening or morning when we weren’t at the river or perhaps they’re so small we just couldn’t see them.
The first place I looked to find the LaFontaine Diving Blue-Winged Olive Egg Layer was in the book LaFontaine’s Legacy, written by my friends Al and Gretchen Beatty. And there it was along with a brief story about these mayflies swimming through the water to lay their eggs on the bottom. In fact, the males follow the females in their swimming venture. Isn’t nature amazing?
I’ve read quite a few books about aquatic insects, but this fact never resonated with me. I decided to check out a few more books. My next stop was another classic – Mayflies by Malcolm Knopp and Robert Cormier. There is was. How about a Rick Haefle and Dave Hughes book – Western Mayfly Hatches? It’s there too! Haefle and Hughes discuss the Baetis “complex”, comprised of sixteen genera and over 60 species. With such a vast variety of different insects to choose from, it’s no wonder the authors use the term “complex”.
Haefle and Hughes also discuss the behavior of Baetis depositing eggs along the river bottom. What strikes me most is the quote “This submerged egg-depositing behavior is unique, among mayflies, to members of this complex”.
Many fly fishers use Blue Wing Olive, BWO, or Baetis, referring to the small two-tailed olive bugs that hatch 12 months out of the year. Hopefully, this solves some of the confusion you might have when you hear one of these terms.
If you’d like more information about Gary LaFontaine, the author of Caddisflies, be sure to read my Deep Sparkle Pupa post.
Here is the list of other LaFontaine TBT flies:
You can purchase LaFontaine’s Legacy from the BT’s Fly Fishing website. I highly recommend this book as it includes several of Gary’s fly creations you probably haven’t seen. In addition, pick up a copy of Caddisflies or Western Mayfly Hatches for your fly fishing library. If you can’t find it locally, go to the Fly Fishing and Fly Tying Books page.