Callibaetis Hatch? Where Did It Go?

Discussion in 'Fly Fishing Entomology' started by dryflylarry, Jul 7, 2011.

  1. dryflylarry "Chasing Riseforms"

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    Why would a callibaetis hatch disappear on a lake after fishing it every Spring for the last 6 years? Did the weather screw up everything. Also, the damsel hatch hasn't even hardly showed either. I'm SO disappointed this year. Any others have a similar experience? bawling:
  2. Tim Lockhart Working late at The Office

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    Yes, exactly that. It was an odd spring, and I've seen damsels as of late but not like last year. Callibaetis came around but I'd say it was 20% of last year's hatch if that. It's certainly not abnormal since every year is one of a kind and, on the flipside, midges went nuts from mid-Feb all the way into June. They were affording 50+ early on before any stillfishers were showing up. What I see every season though is when one or two foods are disappointing, something else will offset, and it's a matter of discovering which.

    Bummer about those callibaetis, it's usually the best dry fly fishing on lakes.
  3. Taxon Moderator

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    Probably.
  4. dryflylarry "Chasing Riseforms"

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    I do agree there seemed to be some midges around for some Spring fishing that was fun. Oh.... but my poor callibaetis fella's didn't hardly show. I love that hatch!
  5. Taxon Moderator

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    Not to despair, Larry. They will likely be back on your lake again next spring. Incidentally, the Callibaetis mayflies, which emerge in the spring are offspring of the fall emergers, and they overwinter in their nymphal lifestage before emerging in the spring.
  6. dryflylarry "Chasing Riseforms"

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    This is probably a stupid question, but, is the nymph at all active in the winter? Fish food?
  7. Preston Active Member

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    Steve Raymond, in his book, Blue Upright, reported hearing lots of anecdotal reports of serious declines in Callibaetis populations all up and down the Pacific coast. The mayfly population of Lake Chopaka took a nosedive during that time but it was blamed on the smallmouth bass infestation. Enormous hatches of Callibaetis lasting, sometimes, for an hour or more had dwindled dwindled to sparse hatches lasting only fifteen or twenty minutes. I haven't fished Chopaka as regularly as I used to since the rehabilitation but, when I have fished it, (admittedly treatment with rotenone is hard on gill-breathing invertebrates as well as fish), I haven't seen signs of any really rapid recovery of the mayflies.

    As another example, I have not, in the last ten years or so, seen the large hatches of Callibaetis that used to be a regular feature of fishing Lake Lenice. There would be so many, and so many swallows working over them, that it was not at all unusual to have your emerger or dun imitation snatched off the surface by a passing bird before a fish could grab it. Fortunately, most of them would drop it as soon as they felt the weight of the line. Again, only anecdotal evidence and, I'm sure, there are a plethora other potential causes but it seems to me that several of my favorite Callibaetis fisheries have declined dramatically over a relatively short period of time.
  8. Taxon Moderator

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    Larry-

    Actually, it's a really good question. My belief would be that, although they are probably active, they may still be too small to attract the interest of fish. However, they are likely of great interest to predaceous aquatic insects like stonefly nymphs, damselfly nymphs, etc.
  9. dryflylarry "Chasing Riseforms"

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    I can see no reason why there was hardly a hatch on this lake this year, other than coolish Spring weather conidtions. The lake is in a pristine forest and no homes around it. There has been some logging in the foothills above the lake in recent years, but a good good distance away.
  10. dryflylarry "Chasing Riseforms"

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    Ah, and this leads me to another question.... ha. Since this lake is open all year and I have not fished it in the winter, are damsel and dragonfly nymphs active enough to provide food source? It is a western washington lowland lake.
  11. Taxon Moderator

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    Yes.
  12. Go Fish Language, its a virus

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    Larry,

    My vote is weather.

    Coldest, wettest, most
    suckiest winter since Nixon
    and his goons ruled.

    If I was a bug (don't talk to
    my wife) I wouldn't hatch either.

    All we can do is hope for next year.

    This is the first year in memory that
    all my Rhodies, Roses, Lillies, et all, bloomed
    at the same time. I've never seen that before
    even when I've been drinking.

    Dave
  13. Golden Trout Active Member

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    Just a thought: Years of drought!
  14. Justin Burrows New Member

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    I'm just now seeing them in NE WA. Hadn't been out in a couple weeks, so I'm not sure how long they have been hatching.
  15. dryflylarry "Chasing Riseforms"

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    I'll have to go with the weather, and, global warming. Perhaps its time to start one of those threads! Guess we'll have to suffer until next year Dave! Time for salmon soon and maybe some sea runs. We still need to have a couple drinks off your porch when the sea runs are moving in mass this fall.
  16. Go Fish Language, its a virus

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    You got it.
  17. Fast Action Freddie Member

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    I'm still day dreaming of the 1990s of being smack in the middle of epic (biblical proportion) mayfly hatches that looked like a popcorn popper went off for about an hour. Fishing the same lakes annually since I haven't seen it once as good as I had experienced it in the 90s, early 90s in particular.
  18. troutpocket Active Member

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    Fishing a high lake in MT last June the midges had been dominating the mid-morning bite for two days. On the third day we struggled all morning until we noticed birds working over submerged weeds in 8-12 ft about 200 yards from the bank. The callibaetis were a magnet for all the fish in the area. By the time we stumbled onto the hatch things were in full swing and we got about 30 minutes of lights-out fishing before it tapered off. Before then, the last great callibaetis hatches I saw were a few years back in northern Colorado and SE Wyoming. I haven't seen any intense callibaetis hatches in WA in quite a while. However, the last two springs have been great midge fishing (all life stages) across central and eastern WA. I'll take a midge gulper-fest any time.
  19. Brian Thomas Active Member

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    The callibaetis hatches on the lakes I fish around Kamloops have been sporadic as well , even though we`ve had plenty of the over-cast , drizzly days they seem to prefer . For the most part , chironomid hatches have been spotty too .
  20. WT Member

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    As for the lack of speckled duns in Nunnaly I blame the millions of sunfish.