About Our Autumn Cover

  • By: Fly Rod and Reel
frr autumn cover.jpg

The stunning dry-fly image on our Autumn 2010 issue cover was captured by James Anderson of Yellowstone Angler in Livingston, Montana. James not only has a keen eye for photographic composition; he also knows an effective fly pattern when he sees and fishes one. The form that makes it a great cover image also has function that attracts big trout.

Here, James gives us the backstory on how to fish René Harrop’s Callibaetis Spinner…

“We’re lucky enough to fish some incredible private stillwater fisheries here in Montana. While the scenery and target species may differ, these lakes all have one thing in common: large, intelligent trout.

Nothing is more satisfying than seeing one of these trench monsters come up and eat off the surface. We’ve tried a lot of flies over the years on these private waters, but the single greatest dry of all time—hands down—is René Harrop’s Callibaetis Spinner.

I’ve seen 8-pound cutthroat come up and sip this fly as gentle as can be. I’ve also seen two-foot rainbows notice this fly from 15 feet away, kick in their afterburners and absolutely crush it.

Since the spent-wing spinner wings lie flat on the water, you’ll want to fish this fly behind something more visible, like a Callibaetis thorax dun or a parachute Callibaetis. The fish have no problem seeing it, however—nine times out of 10 they’ll take the spinner over your top fly.

House of Harrop has always tied some of the most realistic mayflies you’ll find anywhere in the world. The trick is finding a shop who carries them. Give Trout Hunter, Silver Creek Outfitters or Yellowstone Angler a call…you’ll be thankful you did, as they carry the flies.

Oh, one last trick for the big fish: You’d be insane to use anything other than 3X tippet. My favorite tippet for lakes is Seaguar Grand Max FX, as it’s less visible to the fish but strong for fighting fish out the weeds. Sometimes on the small Callibaetis Spinners it is hard to fit 3X through the eye of the hook but if you cut your tippet at an angle with your nippers you can usually get it through easily enough.”—James Anderson Yellowstone Angler