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Monday, March 25, 2013

A Great Pre-Hatch Baetis Nymph

Aero-Baetis FTW!

baetis nymph fly pattern tutorial
Aero-Baetis Nymph
I'm often reminded of a time I hit the river for some spring Baetis or Blue Winged Olive action a number of years ago. It was mid-morning and as I walked by one of my favorite dry fly sections of the river, there was a dude just sitting on the bank watching the water. I, at first, figured he was keenly observing the water to figure out what first to tie on. As I approached and spoke to him briefly, however, it turned out he was "staking out" his spot on the river for the hatch that was about two or three hours away. I passed by, finished up with a fine day of fishing and then ran into him again on the way back to my truck. Turns out the hatch hadn't quite materialized and he hadn't ended up catching more than a couple of fish all day.

I mention this because it uncovers a side of fly fishing we often forget about or overlook -- the hatch leading up to the hatch. Indeed this day the fish didn't come up to take dry flies as strongly as they normally would have, but the nymphing action was absolutely insane! Not only that, but I was catching fish anywhere from a few inches to a foot or two beneath the surface and could often see the takes. So it's definitely not your average bottom-bouncing Jedi-style nymphing. 

For these situations, I typically prefer a bead head and try to keep it simple yet still representative of the natural. The Aero-Baetis is the newest pattern in my arsenal to fufill this need. It's been really killing it on the river this year. One thing to remember is that the insects darken up just before they hatch and the wingcases become a bit more prominent. Here are some examples of the naturals and most of the inspiration taken for this pattern. 

baetis nymph fly blue winged olive
Provo River Baetis Nymph
Photo from

I usually fish this pattern from either an indicator or from a dry fly and adjust the depth accordingly. Even during a solid hatch, I'll hang this style of nymph as a dropper from the adult pattern and often find the fish taking it just as it hits the water fooling me into thinking they took the dry fly.
Anyway, it's a solid pattern worth a try....
Hook: TMC 200R #16 - #22 or Daiichi 1150  -- Buy Here --

And here's the video for the Aero-Baetis


  1. Love the site Curtis! I really need to invest in some Clear Cure. Thanks for sharing all of this great knowledge/information with us!

  2. How are you getting that size bead on that hook without bending it? I can't seem to do it.

  3. I run into some beads in the same batch that won't go on, but just pinch the barb if needed. They go on about 90% of the time...

  4. Do you alter the width of the stretch flex for the small sizes?

  5. Yeah, for this size, I go with the 1/8" size. With the overlapping, it works fine. I'd go to the 1/4" up in the #12 and bigger sizes for stones etc.

  6. There is no option to choose a size for the MFC Skinny Skin in your it the 1/8 inch version?? or does it only come in that one size??

    1. Skinny Skin comes in a flat sheet, so you cut it to width

    2. nice makes sense....there are so many skins out right now it's insane lol