Sunriver Anglers
P.O. Box 4273
Sunriver, OR 97707
Dues and
Donations
Membership
Application
Sunriver Anglers
P.O. Box 4273
Sunriver, OR 97707
Menu
Dues and
Donations
Membership
Application
Menu

Fly Tying Corner

Callibaetis Time

Tuesday - June 20, 2017
By Phil Fischer
Callibaetis collage
For those of you who have followed this column for any length of time, you know that I target Callibaetis on our area lakes, a lot! This is the signature hatch in our Central Oregon lakes due to it predictability, and that it lasts from late Spring through the summer and into the early Fall. This year Callibaetis have returned like clockwork and are hatching in earnest in our lower elevation lakes, and will begin soon up high. It is Callibaetis Time.

Last week I fished Crane Prairie, and I experienced awesome dry fly fishing on a nice Callibaetis hatch in the flats out toward Rock Creek. A little later that week, I hit Hosmer Lake, and the Callibaetis were hatching profusely in the channel between the upper and lower lakes. I know that Lava Lake has been experiencing nice hatches on cloudy days recently. And lastly, East Lake Callibaetis hatches are right around the corner,

For this month’s patters, I have chosen to revisit the entire Callibaetis lifecycle in fly patterns. Each pattern is important for various stages of the hatch. Callibaetis are a swimming mayfly nymph, and are broadly available to trout all season long. Techniques for fishing nymph and soft hackles range from hanging a Callibaetis nymph under an indicator. Don’t let the fly sit idly; move it with long slow strips to bounce the fly. Or you might try casting and stripping the fly with an intermediate line sans indicator and use gentle short strips. I often use a wooly bugger, which serves as an attractor, and a Callibaetis nymph as a dropper fly. They almost always take the dropper. Lastly, Callibaetis nymphs and soft hackles work wonderfully wind drifted using an intermediate sink line. This last technique is one of my favorite with younger fly fishers over the hump at East Lake.

Callibaetis Time
East Lake Rainbow taken on a Pullover Callibaetis Spinner


Callibaetis are known to present fabulous dry fly opportunities during hatch periods. Pick a nice overcast day in early July at East Lake and often, you can sight cast to cruising fish all along the East beach. I often fish dry, dry, using two flies instead of one. I especially like to use two stages of the hatching Callibaetis mayfly. I will feature a parachute, and a cripple. Or a pullover pattern and a spinner. The hatch is predictable from 11:00 – 2:00 most days, and sometimes it may last until 4:00. My arm is tired after several hours of non-stop casting to rising trout, but I always have a smile on my face at the end of the day!

The patterns featured in the collage above are: This series of Callibaetis fly patterns and tying steps have been captured in video form. Give these patterns a try next time you sit down at your vice to tie a few flies. I have listed the generic materials needed to tie up a bunch of Callibaetis life cycle patterns. You can find tying instructions in the articles on the Sunriver Anglers page (links above). Videos demonstrating most patterns are also contained in a link within each article.

Callibaetis Patterns Materials List:
  • Hook: Daiichi 1180 Size 12-16 for dries, and 1260, Size 12-16 for nymphs
  • Thread: 70 Denier tobacco brown thread
  • Rib: Ultra Wire – Small Brown
  • Tail: Lemon Woodduck for nymphs, dun Microfibbets for Dries
  • Trailing Shuck: Natural Mayfly Zelon for Cripples
  • Thorax: Blend Light Olive dubbing (75%), UV Callibaetis (25%)
  • Wing: Natural whitetail deer for Dries, Natural Guinea for Spinner
  • Hackle: Whiting Dun Dyed Grizzly
Learn to tie these fly patterns and fish them during Callibaetis hatches on our local lakes to imitate Callibaetis mayflies. If you have questions or would like additional information about these fly patterns, please don’t hesitate to email me. Or if you have suggestions on future patterns to feature in this column, I welcome your input. I can be reached at Philfischer@sbcglobal.net.