Known for hatching in the spring and fall, Baetis (Blue Winged Olives) are a pleasant surprise that can warm up the winter bite. My home state of Colorado is known for year round angling in addition to 300 days of sun that can produce 60 degree temps in the dead of winter. This is enough to cause mayflies to set sail and offer the welcoming sight of trout sipping sailboats. Having both Midges and Baetis will increase the total number of adults on the surface enticing larger trout to rise.
With trout in a lethargic state, temperatures hovering in the mid 40’s to 50 degrees, they are not willing to expend energy to chase a food source that is know to escape like adult BWO’s in their dun state (wings upright). To overcome this winter challenge use imitations that represent emerging insects that are stuck in their shuck. These cripples offer trout an easy meal that will not escape the jaws from below. Two of my go to patterns are Pablo’s BWO Cripple #18-22, and Lawson’s BWO Cripple #18-20. Connected to a pure Scientific Angler Fluorocarbon rig leader and tippet, you will keep the reflection of light to a minimum allowing your rig to float while spooking fewer trout. Some anglers are firm believers that monofilament is a better choice for dries with no sink effect. I can honestly say that you will not have a sinking issue in small flourocarbon sizes such as 6-7X, and knowing that your leader and tippet are not going to not be detected in low clear water is a more important.
To time the winter Baetis bite, target locations in low elevation or weather conditions that offer cloud filled insulated skies. These warming situations will produce the daytime temperatures over 50 degrees that is needed to produce upright wings on the water’s surface. The next time you find yourself on the congested winter slopes, break away and hit the water for some powder day fun.
You can reach Landon Mayer at his web site www.landonmayer.com
Photo by: Angus Drummond