When it comes to the callibaetis fly (the speckle winged Mayfly), you’re talking about an insect with a lifecycle that’s truly amazing. Residing only in very slow-moving, weed-filled sections of rivers, lakes and ponds, the nymph stage comes first. When they begin to hatch, however, they stay just beneath the surface with only the hump of the thorax rising above; the thorax splits and the adult emerges. After this process, the dun drifts across the waters’ surface as the wings harden.

Photo by Phil Fischer

Anglers choose which stage of the callibaetis to match when they head out to land the trout. One fact to know about is that the nymphs drift up from the weeds and converge on the surface; the trout, however, usually select to go for the insect during the emerger stage, and will disregard the nymphs to focus on just that. (Not a surprise, seeing as that the emergers can’t swim or fly which means the trout can simply take their time and enjoy their meal.)

When looking at fishing the emergers, many state that the Quigley’s Cripple and Bivisible Dun are the best fly patterns to have in your fly box. Bob Quigley's Cripple pattern perfectly represents the insect as it struggles to free itself, and is a truly easy fly to tie. The Bivisible is one of those patterns that you’ll always find in anglers' boxes, yet the history of it is basically unknown. In order to tie these particular flies, there are a variety of videos and tutorials to help you all across the internet.

When the callibaetis duns leave the water and fly to vegetation located on the side of the water, they molt and become spinners. In this stage, the insect has translucent wings with only a trace of splotching on the leading edge. Watch the clock, because once this occurs, around mid-morning the next day, the males and females go about making more eggs that the females will lay, beginning their lifecycle all over again.

Callibaetis: How to Fish the Various Stages of the Mayfly Hatch

Photo by Phil Fischer

For fly fishers, as soon as those spinners start landing, or the trout begin to refuse the emerger or cripple imitation you have on your line, tying on a spinner imitation is necessary. Here, patterns like the CDC Biot Spinner bring the most success. By utilizing sparkle organza and fluted CDC feathers that trap air like real spinner wings, your good luck is bound to continue.

So choose the stage you wish to fish that will bring the trout to you. By studying the videos and facts when it comes to the lifecycle of the callibaetis, you’ll know when, where, what and how to tie the right flies to imitate all stages.


Gear for Fishing Callibeatis: 

Prestige 1wt through 5wt rods.  Click Here

 Great Line Choice: XS-Plus Thistledown² | #2-5wt:  Click Here


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