Now that we are in the heart of the “Dog Days”, a lot of us start chasing the “Gulpers” on lakes like Hebgen, Quake or Ennis. The gulpers get their name from the impresion that they’re just swimming around and gulping bugs off the surface, and they are. This wonderful spectacle of nature can be super exciting and just as rewarding to the angler. One of the few insects that brings this behavior out in the Trout is the Callibaetis Mayfly.
Also called the Speckled Dun, this insect thrives in still waters with a good amount of weed beds. Callibaetis can range in size from a size #14 at it’s largest and as small as an #18. They usually start to emerge mid morning or maybe as early as 8am or so and can last until noon or even 1pm some days depending on the wind. They do seem a little sensitive to the wind in my experience. If the fish have a chance to get started on them before the wind comes up, they will typically continue to rise for them through a little chop. Sometimes a little chop on the water helps hide a bad cast or a little heavier tippett. If the wind comes up early in the emergence, the trout will usually just stay below the surface eating Nymphs and sunken Emergers.
The Hatch and Spinner Fall will coincide, meaning they happen at the same time. The fish will start by eating the Nymphs and Emergers, work into Duns and Spinners, then usually by the end of the day they are totally commited to the Spinners.
Since the Callibaetis prefer still water and the mass majority of real large trout are found in still water, this hatch will give the average angler a great chance of catching some of their largest fish of the year on a Dry Fly.
We find that the best still water rods available right now are the 9 1/2′ 5 or 6 wt Sage X or Scott Radian. You need a rod fast enough to pick up a lot of line quickly and shoot it right back out, but a soft enough tip that you don’t break every large fish off on the hook set.
We have a great selection of Callibaetis on hand, plus the best rods to get it done, so if you are thinking of heading out to a lake or just want to learn more about fishing some of the the still waters at our finger tips, come in and see us.
Here is a cool video from my friends at Firehole Ranch on Hebgen.