There is an age old adage amongst fly anglers that our hook up rate increases proportionate to our fly becoming more and more chewed up. I’m confident many of us have experienced this – as the day goes on, and if we are fortunate enough not to loose that single fly that’s been catching all the fish, our success rate increases. Instead of attributing this to an increase in insect activity, or the rust of our skills haven been shaken off early in the day, we give credit to our tattered fly pattern that continues to catch more and more fish as the day goes on. And once again last Saturday while Euro Nymphing a small stream, whether or not it truly was my fly, I had a magical day on the water catching more and more fish as my fly became more and more mangled.
Here is what the Mayday Mayfly pattern looks like fresh off the vise.
Early in the day this particular fly looks and fishes great. However… a few dozen fish later…
…a mangled Mayday Mayfly that can’t seem to keep the fish off. Once again the myth of the tattered fly has proven to be true!
One of the year’s best hatches is right around the corner in the form of millions of tiny Baetis mayflies, better known as Blue Winged Olives (BWO). If you’re not familiar with this hatch, it occurs around the change of season each spring and fall. In the spring it is very obvious that trout have been waiting for the massive amount of food that accompanies the first heavy mayfly hatch of each year. Right now, the first day of March, is the perfect time to look at some pre-hatch options to fish while waiting for this hatch to occur. This past year I was introduced to my newest go-to BWO nymph- Camden’s Baetis.
Camden’s Baetis was designed by a fellow Provo River Guide by the name of Ryan Newman. The Lower Provo is a great fishery that sees a lot of angling pressure. His successful attempt at fooling these fish resulted in this great innovative fly pattern. This nymph has been an instant success on all rivers I fish where small mayfly nymphs occur. For example, tailwaters not only have great BWO hatches in the spring and fall, but these tiny mayflies abound in the nymphal stage year round. They live as subsurface nymphs, swimming around the stream bottom, and trout gobble them up most of the year. For this reason, on almost any given day while fishing tailwaters, one can tie on Camden’s Baetis and expect to get some attention from the trout.
How to Fish Camden’s Baetis– Much like a zebra midge, Camden’s Baetis catches fish even in the dead of summer. Suspended under an indicator with splitshot to get it to the stream bottom has produced the best results for me. It has the perfect mayfly profile, and can be bought through Orvis, or tied in black, brown, or olive. Small sizes (18-20) have yielded great success. Another great way to fish this pattern is as a dropper behind a BWO dry fly. This nymph is tied with a glass bead and doesn’t have much weight to it. It will ride just below the surface film, not dragging your dry fly under, and trout are usually more prone to taking a subsurface offering (emergers and nymphs) even when great hatches occur.
How to Tie Camden’s Baetis- Ryan has put together a great instructional video on tying Camden’s Baetis. It is a simple pattern, like most you will find n our site, and it catches fish like crazy. Beginners and experts alike can tie up a dozen in no time. Just remember, with BWO nymphs, often times the smaller the better. Remember, as stated above, if you don’t tie Camden’s Baetis is also available to buy through Orvis here CAMDEN’S BAETIS.