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Learn how to make a blue wing olive parachute fly.
Tags:How to make a Blue Wing Olive Parachute Fly,fishing,fly fishing,fly fishing lessons,fly fishing tutorials,flytier,gray microfibetts,olive gray superfine dubbing
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Now, I am going to tie a blue winged olive parachute dry fly. This is one version of the blue wing olive, there are many other patterns that are equally as effective but I find this to be actually a nice pattern for slower and smoother currents actually. It is actually a very effective fly because it gives a very clean silhouette; it is going to be taking into effect a cut wing or a burnt wing so it gives a very clean silhouette of a mayfly. This mayfly is a representative of a lot of different smaller dun, blue dun, bluish kind of gray colored winged flies that are found throughout the United States. It's tied in a variety of sizes, I am just doing a 14 here to show for demonstration but common size is about 16 all the way down to about a size of 22. They do represent most commonly the blue winged olive (Baetis) which is a small olive body fly with a dun colored wing.
I am going to tie its shell with dun, this can be dun, which means it's a freshly emerged mayfly. It's a year-around fly for the most part; I have seen these flies hatched about any time of the year; early spring when there is still snow around and also in the fall. Best days to look for them is on overcast days. If you are out in overcast day like early mid-morning, start looking for these blue winged olives because it's very possibly you will run into it on emergence of these flies.
I am going to start out by tying in my thread which is going to be just pretty much a medium colored olive. You can use different variations, I have also used some whiter olive and even some dark. You can use gray, it would be okay. If there is a lighter variation, you could use as well. I am going to start about mid shank; I am going to wrap this back till I get a little bit further then the bend. Then I am going to be doing a splayed tail on this fly. I did nick my fly a little bit so I can make sure I don't lose that thread. Before I tie in a tail, I am actually going to put in a small, little bump of dubbing. Little bump is going to actually help to splay out that tail.
Apply a small bit of wax; I have got most of my materials already prepared ahead of time here so I can show you quickly how to put this together. I have selected some olive, synthetic dubbing, just about a medium olive again in terms of the color; not too dark. You can actually make them darker. I have seen these actually tied in very dark olive and some that go close to an apple green. The naturals too have a very full range, these flies can even be close being gray. Often you could find them as being almost mustard green, yellowish color inside of that olive. There is my little ball; the ball is just there to help at this point to slay my hackles for my tail.
Okay, for my tail, I have selected, I can find it now. Here it is, a spade hackle from the side of the cape, I will show you once again where that is so you don't forget, okay. These hackles on the side here, these are a little bit shorter, they are stiff, you can use, you pick out a spade hackle by the fact that it has very shiny barbules as well, barbules. So what I am going to do for the tail, you can cut these if you prefer but I like to grab them. I am going to come in and grab a section altogether, pull down and pull it away, okay.
Have this tail relatively sparse because these flies have pretty sparse tails but you need enough of a platform there for this to rest on the water. So I am going to take that tail, again, I am going to make this tail not only sparse but also relatively long to imitate a natural tail. So I am going to make this tail a little longer than the hook shank, actually; I don't want to make it a short tail but not extremely long. It's going to be throwing off the balance of the fly. I am actually going to pull off; I am going to do that dubbing, it's a little bit more than I want. They have actually got a good secured tail. I overdid it the first time, a little bit dubbing. Okay, now I can make that work. I am going to check my length because I have been fiddling around here.
Okay, lay it in this side of the hook towards me, a loose turn at first then a little tighter one; it should splay back over that tail, that's a little bit short. I am not going to pull them back before I lash them down tight. Okay, so you got a nice splay on that tail. Some people go and clip out the center feathers; I tend to leave them in because it gives me all that much more support back there. I am going to wrap this up to mid point and then I'll come back just a little bit, so I don't want to be actually right in the middle of the fly but I also don't want to be lay up by the eye because I am going to make this almost like a thorax styled body which means it's going to be closer to the middle of the fly than the head.
Okay, for this wing, I am going to be doing a burnt wing. I have got my homemade wing burner. You can purchase these and they come in a variety of sizes and shapes. I tended to want to lean towards a rounded appearance of my wings, so I want to make my own shape and made more of a rounded top. It gives it a more full appearance. I have selected instead of a very soft, soft webby hen hackle which can be used for this, I like to use the ones from the wrist or necks and I use the stems that are a little bit more stiff.
I go up towards the top of the neck, I can find really webby feathers which are nice looking feathers but stems are little bit weak. So if I'll get a little stiffer stems, I have a good support system to wrap my hackle around. This is going to be a parachute styled hackle which is unlike the traditional hackle which goes around the hook, this hackle actually wraps around a wing stem, okay. So I am going to come and cut this off and you can see here that the webbing goes up and it almost forms a point, a point and then it begins to thin out. I am going to cut this off just at the top of that point. I am going to strip away my excess feathers here, come down. I want to get those to be evened up at the base of that wing; basically, I am starting to get the wing already formed so I can see it in terms of what's going to burned up.
Okay, then I am going to take this down, I am going to take my wing burner. I am going to cut this off; I will leave my stem a little bit long so I have got something to grip onto. So I will cut that off about there, way inside up here. I want to make sure my stem is in the center of that wing shape and also, make sure I have my webbing in there as well. I am not going to burn onto the burner which is into the fibers that are not webbed and I want to make sure they are webbed. If I have some that are not webbed but it's nice, clean, more opaque silhouette. Now I am going to take my lighter; I am going to burn those away. Okay, very quick, just run it across, okay.
Right now, I am going to flick off some of these a little barbs, little piece that I see on the outside. Again, this is something that you don't have to do, you can actually cut these wings if you feel like, take the time to cut them up. This is fast, pretty easy and it also gives you a very nice clean silhouette because these ends are -- I guess they are melted together in a certain respect so they really do lay together nicely. There is a little black piece on the tip there, I want to get rid of that one, pull that off there, I don't want that. There we go. So this is a nice silhouette.
Now, I am going to put only one wing in, some of the patterns call for two on this pattern, I don't like it because of the fact that it tends to get wind resistance, it can also make your leader twist. So I just keep with one, accosted on the weight as well, so you just have a nice, clean silhouette. When one of these mayflies does emerge, usually, you just see the one wing is ticking up and all the fish needs to see as a signal to move up and take them is that silhouette of that wing. You can tie it with a split wing, it's okay to do that but it's before you can get some trouble with casting and what not.
Now, this is size 14, I am going to tie that relatively high, I could tie it a little shorter. I don't want it get too big because if I get too tall of that like a big sail, it actually acts like a sail; it's going to cause problems for casting and even wind. Wind can knock the fly over. So I can keep it kind of low, but it has to be high enough so that the fish can see it and I can see it as a indicator of where my fly is. So I take this, I am going to tie it in right down; it's not against that first grouping of fibers. I am tying it flat on top but this is ticking up like a thin at this point so I want to make sure it's not going to be laying on its side, okay. Now, I grab it again, I am going to lash it down nice and tight and lift it up, bending it forward and I come in behind with a couple of turns just to make sure and letting them come right up tight now against this, so let's make the stand up, okay. There is that wing.
I am quite down yet, I am getting there but I am not quite down. I want to make sure that I make a good secure, right now, you can it's relatively secure. I want a secure base for which to wrap my hackle around. So I am going to take this and I am going to wrap around the base of that feather right on the stem lassoing it, making a loop with my fingers like that. Be careful not to get those fibers in there and come on down. One got in and it's okay, I will pull it out. Okay, now I got a good thread base. A good secure place to actually wrap my hackle, okay.
Now, before I go any further, since I forgot to do this, it's okay to catch it later, I am going to actually put a little bit of cement back on the tying spot on those still fibers, so I want to make sure it stays splayed. As I am getting my dubbing prepared, I can dry a little bit, and I get a chance to let that set up so it doesn't get loosened up in the tying process. Now, I am going to wrap back right there in front of that little ball. Once again that ball is just there to splay those tail fibers, I am going to actually use a little bit more splaying, pushing underneath there with my thumbnail, okay. Using the same dubbing, I am going to take some wax so it's visible. I just put some wax on there; I don't want a huge amount. I am going to see a little bits and pieces of wax on the thread.
Take some dubbing, not a lot, I want a thin, nice, even tapered body. Thin and sparse is usually pretty affective with a mayfly because of the fact that they do have thin, elongated bodies. You don't want to get into thick, fat bodies. There are some mayflies that have chunkier appearances but the blue winged olive is one that doesn't have that, it's pretty slender. Slender, delicate looking fly and that too can vary, I mean they are in larger sizes and they get a little chunkier but the small ones are very, very delicate looking. Start wrapping this up towards the center and checking to make sure that I am not getting too fat, that I am filling in gaps. Now as I get closer to that wing, I want to get a little fatter, that's where the taper is up. I get some into the thorax area, they fatten up. So I make my fly looks fatter as I get closer to that. There you go there.
I am going to leave a little space between the dubbing and the stem, okay. I am ready at this point to tie in my hackle, a little tiny space. Okay, just a bit, I don't want to crowd away in there. Okay, now I have selected a hackle already for this fly, so before this is tied in now, not around the hook shank but around the stem of the wing, try this in. I am not that concerned about which way this goes, this is going to concave or convex because it always end up just kind of looking, kind of mixed up anyway because I go around in different angle or different way that it would on a hard metal shaft.
Okay, here we go. Tie that down, before I tie that in or wrap that in, I have to put some more dubbing in. I am going to clip away that stem, I am going to dub now over the thread base and over that hackle stem that I can still see there. This can be a little bigger because again, we are up in there in that thorax area and you can see on a mayfly. I'll pick one up and take a look at them which I highly encourage, you can understand why these flies are shaped that they are, that they have a big bump or kind of a ball shape right underneath the wings. I'll actually put a little more in so I don't have to worry about it later on, because I really want to make sure I have dubbing all the way up to the tie-off point on the fly. Okay, here we go. I have one of those little fibers that get stuck. Okay, here we go hackle pliers, I am going to grab this little further than in it on the tip because I don't want to break this off and wrap around. Instead of wrapping up, I am going to be wrapping under each successive wrap. The first one I wrap and I go underneath that one and so on down.
You can tie it relatively sparse, they don't have to have a huge thick bushy appearance because you really want to make sure that you can see the silhouette of the fly. Oh! There it goes. Alright, this is what usually happens on these guys. It's not, though, end of the world but it does cause some troubling; you are almost done and you going to make sure you hold on to not only the thread that also watching, you make sure your wing doesn't get tipped over and all the factors involved here and then almost done. So you got to be careful. But using a long hackle like this makes it seems good chance of taking couple of attempts. Not to worry too much; you are using a long enough hackle.
Okay, let that come down. I want to make sure I don't tie in any hackle fibers here on this part and I am going to have a couple to get tied in, it just happens, but I want to make sure I don't tie down the ones that are -- now that got away from me. I want to just make sure I get it in there nice and tight to sink underneath. Okay, there we go. Snug it up nice and tight. Now, I will pull all of these hackles back, still not getting them all out of the way. There we go, a couple are going to get sacrificed but that's okay. Now, get rid of that, all those little extra pieces I don't want in there, get rid of them. I am going to hamper the appearance of the fly and also, they are going to get in the way while you try to tie the fly off. Now, I hold it back and wrap back, okay. Here we go. Still got some pieces that got stuck underneath here, I will get those clipped out because they are going to get in the way of my hook-eye, which makes it hard to tie the leader on to the fly. Since, I am tying my own flies, I have the advantage of really checking out that. Alright, so I don't have to worry about it being clogged with cement or with fibers.
Okay, now I am going to simply tie this off, I will finish it. Now, the advantage of this fly and actually, there is more than one advantage to it, but one of them is the fact that you have the unobstructed view of the wing for the fish down below, and what the means is whether a traditional hackle -- I want you to talk about this as being a pretty typical problem. The wings get interrupted by all that hackles especially if it's a thick hackle. But this, you don't have that situation; all you have got so you see through those hackle fibers very easily and they do look like legs and the silhouette of that wing is easily maintained; it doesn't give lost because you don't see a bunch of fibers that are getting away. So it really gives you a great appearance plus it sits right in the surface film which is pretty much what the natural does especially when it's first emerging. So you end up with a very life like appearance and you see these on the water and you think, often, you can't even tell the difference between this and natural because that wings sits up like a little sail, which is what you see on freshly immersed dun. And I have often times gotten my fly mixed up with the natural when they are sitting next to each other. It's kind of fun to see that because you think, well I really got there, imitation match well.
Now, I usually tie these in about a size 18 and size 20s for the smaller streams that I fish in Midwest and also I fished in the East quite a bit and use them also in the size quite a bit. They can be tied with a gray body, I even tied them sometimes with almost a brownish rusty kind of a body. It all depends on what kind of flies you are seeing in your area. So you want to make sure you check and see what kind of mayflies you are going to imitate before you purchase your dubbing and get your materials. I have also tied as a relatively light blue dun, it's a medium but it's a little bit lighter. They come in very many shades; you can find a very, very dark gray wing, sometimes even lighter than this but they are all pretty effective. Again, I wouldn't go out without these, I think they are very important fly to have in your box, especially for small streams.