Fly of the Month: Blue Winged Olive with Goose Biot Body

January’s fly of the month is another from ETU’s top dozen and ready for fishing even during these cold winter days and right on through the summer and fall – a classic Blue Winged Olive tied with a goose biot body.

The goose biot body makes this fly special. It makes for a fly that is easy to tie, for sure, but it also makes a fly that comes especially close to imitating a natural mayfly that rides low in the water film.

The key is the body segmentation created by the biot as it wraps around the hook and then the sparse thorax and wing that is clipped on the bottom to help it sit especially low in the water.

The BWO is a Baetis that’s present in Colorado waters year-round. Look for hatches really to start turning trout on in February when a warm midday sun can set off a sudden rush of BWOs that will bring feeding trout to the top of the water. You know there’s nymph action below surface as well.


Hook: TMC 100 or 101 size 20-24
Thread: Olive green thread
Tail: Clear micro-fibettes
Body: Olive green goose biots
Thorax: Olive green dubbing
Wing/Legs: Medium blue dun hackle (hook size specific hackle like Whiting Farms is really nice to work with)

Tying instructions:

Begin by assembling your materials. Charlie Craven recommends when working with biots to soak them in warm water before using. I tried this and it makes the biot more supple when wrapping. So strip some biots off and place them in some warm water first thing!

Tie the thread on the hook near the half-way point. Wrap the thread back to the bend and create a bubble or bump of thread. This will lift the micro-fibettes above the hook shank when they are tied in and help the fly to sit lower on the water surface.

Tie in 4 strands of micro-fibettes. The length should extend about 1.5 times the length of the hook shaft. Put two or three wraps on the shank to secure the microfibettes, then wrap back to the bump.

Now tie in the goose biot by the tip, or pointed end. The biot has a notch opposite the tip and the notch should be oriented down. This will create a smooth lap when winding the biot. If you reverse the biot so the notch is up (or oriented toward the eye of the hook) you will get a rough edge at the tailing edge of each wrap. This is desirable when tying midges, but not this pattern.

Another guide is to make sure the dark, straight edge is closest to you and the slightly curved edge is away from you.

After tying down the tip of the biot, wrap the thread forward to just behind the eye.

Using hackle pliers, wrap the biot forward creating equal-spaced wraps of the biot.

Tie off the biot and cut off the remaining end. Marty Bartholomew describes making two terminal wraps on the biot then lifting the end of the biot up and putting two wraps of thread on the hook to prevent the biot from loosening and/or unwrapping before cutting off the ends. It is a nice technique!

Now bring your thread back about a quarter of the hook shank from the eye and tie in the hackle.

Next dub the thread and build up a thorax. Leave room at the front to finish the fly without crowding the eye. Keep the dubbing sparse.

Wrap the hackle forward (3-4 turns) and tie off. Clip the remaining hackle stem.

Whip finish. Cut off the thread. Cement.

However one last step remains. Trim the hackle on the bottom side to be level or slightly less than the point of the hook.

Final Version (Above)

Story and photos by Jim Wilborn.