Callibaetis = Filet Mignon for a Colorado Rainbow Trout

English: Rainbow trout
English: Rainbow trout (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Callibaetis mayflies, among the largest in the Baetidae family, reside only in slow or still water. The most important species is Callibaetis ferrugineus, which is found across the country but produces its best hatches in the West.

On July 28th, I found out first hand and up close what a callibaetis hatch means to a Colorado rainbow trout – bon appétit.

After a prolonged hike through mosquito infested marsh land, my buddies and I arrived at a section of Spinney Mountain Reservoir that I had never fished.  The early morning cloud cover had burned off, and the temperature rose to an uncomfortable 85 degrees.   The air was still (rare for Spinney) so the water was like glass.  As we waded to the weed-line, backs of large rainbow trout began to emerge from the depths of the lake.  My heart was racing as we fanned out in order to cover the most water.  Waiting for any movement within casting distance, I began to strip fly line in anticipation of additional trout slurping.   My impatience forced me to cast my #12 grey flashback hare’s ear toward the middle of the lake.  Two slight twitches, then BANG, a 20 inch bow hit the fly and took instant air.  Three jumps later he sped laterally, stripping my fly line down to the backing.  The fight continued for about 10 minutes, ending in the netting of the fantastic fish.

The callibaetis hatch lasted over 2 hours, and the trout disappeared as fast as they arrived.  Between the three of us, we landed over 20 fish, all between 18 and 22 inches long.  What an amazing day in Colorado.

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