Tying the Callibaetis Quill Dun

Tying the Callibaetis Quill Dun

A must-have pattern even on streams

  • By: A. K. Best
Although they are common on stillwaters, I've only been lucky enough to hit the Callibaetis hatch about twice a year on moving water, and when I do I'm damn glad I always carry an assortment of flies for rare events such as this. Trout seem to ignore anything else that might be on the stream when the Callibaetis begin hatching. When I find them, I usually come across them on slow-moving pools. We all know where insects are supposed to live; however, they can go any place that suits them.

Hook: Mustad 94840, size 14-18
Thread: Danville's 6/0 number 31 gray
Tail: Light-medium dun spade hackle fibers, length equal to entire hook
Wings: Pair of light-medium dun hen hackle tips, length to equal entire hook
Hackle: Light but well- marked grizzly hackle with enough web to simulate the large thorax

1) Attach the thread to the hook one hook-gap space behind the eye and wind to the beginning of the hook bend. Cut off the tag and make a little thread bump with two or three turns of thread over the last one.

2) Tie on tailing fibers immediately in front of the thread bump. This will cock them up slightly.

3) For size 16 and 14 flies, use two quills. One quill should be twice the diameter of the other. Clip off the tips at a point where the combined width of both quills is about equal to the diameter of the hook eye. Tie them onto the top of the hook with the clipped tips aligned with the thread start.

4) Wind the quills forward, making certain that the thicker one covers the thinner one. Tie off on top of the hook one hook-gap space behind the hook eye and clip off the butts.

5) Tie on wings in front of the shoulder of the body, and leave just enough space for two turns of hackle behind the wings.

6) Trim hackle butt and wind the hackle in your favorite manner. Take two turns behind the wings and three turns in front. Tie down the tip, clip it off, whip finish, and apply a drop of head lacquer to the thread head only.