Serratella ignita (BWO) 

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The Blue Winged Olive and the Red Spinner

The Serratella ignita is one of the classic mayflies for the summer months and its imitation can be well rewarding to any fly angler in Europe. It is widely spread throughout the continent and mass hatches are common. Furthermore, if there was a rank of preference of what insect fish like to feed on, I'd account the BWO dun at the second place of such hypothetical ranking list, right after the Ephemera danica. (Picture: subimago male, red spinner after turning into imago)


Serratella nymph and larva can be found in small and bigger rivers at several altitudes, up to more than a 1000 meters. I have found BWO larvae under the pebbels of stony bottom streams as well as in the waterplants of the chalk streams. This confirms an attidute to survive in different habitats. A good imitating pattern is also its nymph stadium, considering that they tend to drift for long distances before finally hatching out as winged insects. (in the picture: S.ignita larva)


The body size can vary between 6-7 mm upto 1 cm. The body length of the samples that I collected during this hatch was comprised between 6.5 and 7 mm. The imitation of the subimago (dun) is probably the most fruitful and enjoyable, as it is used during the hatch on rising fish. (Picture: S.ignita subimago female, B.W.O.)


The male is clearly distinguishable from female by the red turban eyes. The sherry or red spinner of the english tradition is a classical pattern to fish on a S. ignita hatch. (Picture: S.ignita imago male, red spinner)


Females are slightly larger then males and lack the turban eyes. The eggs are laid by the imago female directly in the water, with the typical up and down dance performed while flying. In this phase the fish can be very picky about this fly, preferring to eat only this species during mixed hatches. (Picture: S.ignita imago female, red spinner)


Falls of the exhausted spinners (females but also males) often happen in the late evening and the massive presence of dead mayflies drifting on the surface can bring the fish to become very selective. The small spent pattern with the PVC wings presented above turned out successful during spent falls. (Picture imago female, red spinner)


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