What's perfect about blue-winged olive weather?

By Richard Burke

Monday was the kind of day that would be short because the weather was almost awful. Drizzle, wind forecast to be 50 clicks and it came close, temperature in the low single digits.
Or it would be exceptional.

We left the city mid-morning. Windshield wipers slapping’ time, we headed for a different part of the river we have fished often. As my fishing friend, Dean, said, “Well, at least we can get caught up.” We hadn’t seen each other much this summer. Both away lots. We planned to fish Monday, because it was about the only day we could find to fish together this month. And, this month is when fishing usually starts to really pick up.

I was determined it would be more than catch-up time.
“This is Blue-Winged Olive weather,” I replied optimistically. But, as we arrived at the place we would start walking and wading, I wasn’t exactly sure this was a good idea. I parked the truck facing west, and we geared up, the truck buffeting the gale.
Good thing I wore a jacket – it could have been heavier. Had trouble deciding if I should hang the sunglasses over my neck. If it’s not sunny, I still use them to hold the clip-on magnifying glasses absolutely necessary anymore to change tippets and tie on flies. I’ve also used the brim of a cap, even though that puts the magnifier farther from my eyes. Left the sunglasses in the truck, convinced they would only get in the way. I pulled a toque on, adjusted the cap size and fit it over the toque.
You really have to want to fish to wear a cap over a toque. Wished I had gloves but, this was only Sept. 8, after all.

As I stumbled over river rocks, a few cliches leaked into in my brain: it was a dark and stormy night (a damp and blustery day.) A biting wind numbed my face and hands. Only a fool would actually choose to do this.
But, the river was clear, wadable, beautiful. Within 15 minutes, I had a 20-inch rainbow on, fooled by a size 10 sort of seducer/stimulator concoction with chartreuse abdomen. Resembled a hopper, I surmised. When you cast a large fly into a strong wind, it can kind of flop onto the water, wherever, like a hopper might.

Dean, across the river, was using a woolly-bugger with a copper john dropper. He was noticing a fair number of small mayflies sailing down the river, but it took awhile for me to connect my earlier observation about BWOs and what Dean was observing. Cold brain, I guess. The more we fished, the more mayflies we saw. In fact, the BWOs were holding their own regatta in numbers I can’t recall ever seeing.
We tried matching the hatch because fish were rising most of the afternoon. A couple took a size 14-humpy with chartreuse body. Another took a green CDC Elk Caddis, same size. And another took a green seducer. One took the copper john, the only one not on the surface.
My fly box used to have lots of BWO patterns, but I recently restocked the boxes and, somehow, had left out most of the BWOs.

Dean looked cold. I was starting to shiver. When we got back to the truck, after five hours on the river and fighting a headwind that changed directions to make sure it was always a headwind, the thermometer read 1 C.
Classic Blue-winged Olive weather. And worth every, cold minute.