Callibaetis Hatch? Where Did It Go?

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

  1. dryflylarry

    dryflylarry "Chasing Riseforms"

    Joined:
    Mar 4, 2003
    Messages:
    4,141
    Likes Received:
    656
    Location:
    Near the Fjord
    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

    Tim Lockhart Active Member

    Joined:
    Mar 28, 2006
    Messages:
    2,169
    Likes Received:
    770
    Location:
    Mill Creek, WA
    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

    Taxon Moderator Staff Member

    Joined:
    Aug 22, 2004
    Messages:
    1,031
    Likes Received:
    157
    Location:
    Mercer Island, WA
    Probably.
     
  4. dryflylarry

    dryflylarry "Chasing Riseforms"

    Joined:
    Mar 4, 2003
    Messages:
    4,141
    Likes Received:
    656
    Location:
    Near the Fjord
    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

    Taxon Moderator Staff Member

    Joined:
    Aug 22, 2004
    Messages:
    1,031
    Likes Received:
    157
    Location:
    Mercer Island, WA
    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

    dryflylarry "Chasing Riseforms"

    Joined:
    Mar 4, 2003
    Messages:
    4,141
    Likes Received:
    656
    Location:
    Near the Fjord
    This is probably a stupid question, but, is the nymph at all active in the winter? Fish food?
     
  7. Preston

    Preston Active Member

    Joined:
    Mar 12, 2004
    Messages:
    2,831
    Likes Received:
    936
    Location:
    .
    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

    Taxon Moderator Staff Member

    Joined:
    Aug 22, 2004
    Messages:
    1,031
    Likes Received:
    157
    Location:
    Mercer Island, WA
    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

    dryflylarry "Chasing Riseforms"

    Joined:
    Mar 4, 2003
    Messages:
    4,141
    Likes Received:
    656
    Location:
    Near the Fjord
    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

    dryflylarry "Chasing Riseforms"

    Joined:
    Mar 4, 2003
    Messages:
    4,141
    Likes Received:
    656
    Location:
    Near the Fjord
    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

    Taxon Moderator Staff Member

    Joined:
    Aug 22, 2004
    Messages:
    1,031
    Likes Received:
    157
    Location:
    Mercer Island, WA
    Yes.
     
  12. Go Fish

    Go Fish Language, its a virus

    Joined:
    Jan 19, 2006
    Messages:
    1,355
    Likes Received:
    182
    Location:
    Rheomode, Wa.
    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

    Golden Trout Active Member

    Joined:
    Apr 28, 2005
    Messages:
    631
    Likes Received:
    209
    Location:
    North Central Washington
    Just a thought: Years of drought!
     
  14. Justin Burrows

    Justin Burrows New Member

    Joined:
    Apr 13, 2009
    Messages:
    20
    Likes Received:
    0
    Location:
    Chewelah, WA
    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

    dryflylarry "Chasing Riseforms"

    Joined:
    Mar 4, 2003
    Messages:
    4,141
    Likes Received:
    656
    Location:
    Near the Fjord
    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.