Fly Tying 1 min read

[Video] How-to Tie a Baetis Mayfly Dun

Ken Sperry

Posted by Ken Sperry

March 27, 2010

This week’s Friday Night Fly Tying Video is brought to us by Hans Stephenson of Dakota Angler & Outfitter who shares with us his guide fly pattern imitating a Baetis Mayfly Dun.

Easy Baetis Mayfly Dun Pattern

I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, I like easy to tie guide flies like this simple Baetis dun pattern. Maybe it has to do with trying to teach my three young sons how to tie flies or maybe I’m just lazy – either way it doesn’t get much easier than this. As Hans points out one key to tying Baetis (Blue-Winged Olive) patterns is to not over dub the body as the real flies are very slim (I guess they work out a lot).

Baetis Dun Material List

Hook: TMC 100 or Daiichi 1100
Tail: Coq de Leon
Body: Nature’s Spirit Natural Dubbing
Wing: CDC
Head: Nature’s Spirit Natural Dubbing

Life Cycle Mayfly: Episode 3

So where does the dun fit into the mayfly life cycle? If you recall, the Baetidae family of mayflies have a simply life cycle progressing from an egg to nymph to adult. The dun mayfly is actually an immature adult that recently emerged from the nymphal shuck at the water surface. Baetis duns tend to linger on the water surface while they ready their newly formed up-right wings for flight, making them an easy target for trout.

The mayfly dun then takes flight and finds a place, usually on land, to molt and become a fully mature adult ready to mate and return to the water to lay eggs and begin the cycle anew. We will cover fly patterns imitating the adult mayfly in our next few Friday Night Fly Tying Videos.

Tips on Fishing Baetis Dun Patterns

Fishing the Baetis dun is pretty simple, dead-drift and spot-on. Baetis duns are not real active after hatching. They basically float along waiting for their wings to dry enough to take flight. So a simple drag-free dead-drift presentation is usually all that is needed.

Baetis hatches can, however, be heavy at times and there tend to be a lot of flies on the water at once. To entice a trout to select your fly from amongst the hundreds of naturals a good strategy is to single out a feeding trout and put your fly right in their feeding lane so they do not have to move far to get it. It also helps to observe the feeding fish for a few minutes before casting and count how long it takes between rises and then time your cast so your fly is in the right place at the right time.


p.s. This video is one in a series on Baetis fly patterns including deep nymphs, floating nymphs, emergers, cripples, duns, wet flies and spinners.