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Mayfly Fly Patterns

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Mayfly dry fly are arguably the most elegant insects of the fly fishing world. They vary in size and color and are a staple in the trout’s diet. As fly fisherman, mayfly fly patterns frequently fall upon in our fly boxes throughout the year.

Mayfly fly patterns have 2 wings that sit vertical, and have transparency to them and often detailed designs. Adult mayflies are most often fished and easily identified via terrestrial flies. They will have their wings intact and will be floating well on the water. Though the mayfly dry fly spends little time on the water, this stage is the most popular dry flies for fly fishing on most rivers. If you get down to the fishes’ level on the river on a cloudy day, you will see a lot of these on the water and heads popping and slurping them down just as quickly. Mayfly fly hatches can happen anytime of the day, though morning and evening are often the most prolific.

One mayfly fly that stands out among the rest is the all-knowing BWO, or baetis. This mayfly fly pattern can be imitated with various fly selections. The Adams is a very well-known mayfly fly that imitates this mayfly well, amongst many other. These are a very dominant bug in the western states.

The mayfly fly offer year-round dry fly fishing and are located across the world. Some of the most prolific hatches are mayfly dry fly. Baetis will hatch year-round giving mayfly dry fly patterns a necessary place in your box anytime you’re on the water, try a Baetis Zinger or Blue Wing Olive Parachute flies to imitate them. In the spring and summer, you have dozens of different species that hatch. If it weren’t for mayflies, entomology would really be rather simple. Mayflies hatch at all different times of the year, the nymphs can look pretty different from species to species and they vary greatly in size. It’s best to refer to local hatch charts and talk to local fly shops on the rivers you plan to fish to discover what mayfly fly may be hatching at any given time of the year. Always good to have a wide assortment of mayfly fly patterns on hand, meaning size, shape and color. For the mayfly, the sailboat like wings are the key to identifying it’s a mayfly fly. They are delicate, slow flying and beautiful. Though identifying the species from each other can be more of a challenge, mayflies themselves are likely the easiest dry fly to identify. A spinner (dead dry fly like Trico Spinner) will often have the wings laid out to the sides on the water.