Stalcup’s BWO Emerger/Nymph
Shane Stalcup was one of Americas greatest fly tiers and fly innovator. Shane was a major influence in my own style of fly tying. If you are a fly tier then I recommend you buy his book and if you don’t tie flies then I recommend that you buy his book. What makes this fly so good is that you can accurately imitate both a Blue Winged Olive nymph (Baetis) or a nymphal emerger.
The Blue Winged Olive (Baetis) is arguably the most important mayfly hatch we as anglers could possibly be fly fishing over. It’s always the first mayfly on the water and the last mayfly on the water. In the Spring, trout are hungry for something new to eat other than midges and they happily scarf these little mayflies when they hatch. Somewhat similar, the Fall batch of BWO’s are the last mayfly on the water and trout seem to sense this and again feed on them voraciously.
Before, during and after these seasonal hatches BWO nymphs become mobile on the bottom and of course when they leave the bottom to the surface to become winged adults. During these times trout become awfully familiar with these bugs and take the opportunity to eat these nymphs whenever possible. Accurate life like copies of the Blue Winged Olive nymph, as best as we tiers can do with fur and feathers, can increase your nymphing catch rate during that time of year when the Blue Winged Olive (Baetis) mayfly hatch is happening.
Stalcup’s imitation of the Baetis mayfly nymph has a dual purpose. It can be used to accurately represent a real Baetis mayfly nymph crawling around the bottom of the river and accurately represent what a Blue Winged Olive mayfly emerger looks like just under the surface. Better known as a nymphal emerger. Remember an emerger is an aquatic insect that leaves the bottom of the river to swim to the surface to become a winged adult. In the initial stages of the change from nymph to winged adult there is a significant amount of time when the emerger just under the surface looks just like the real nymph. In the old days we called them floating nymphs.
Stalcup’s BWO Emerger/Nymph can best be summed up as one of the most accurate depictions of a crawling Blue Winged Olive (Baetis ) mayfly nymph that I have fished with. Since the introduction of Stalcup’s unique style of tying nymphs many other tiers have improved on their pattern to create other Blue Winged Olive (Baetis) nymphs creating a more accurate copy of the nymph. The old guard nymph patterns that we used in the past such as the Pheasant Tail and Hare’s Ear are still great nymphs and will continue to catch trout but adding a few Stalcup BWO nymphs in your line up will only help during days where you really have to work to bring a trout to hand.