02/25/11
Insects and other foods the trout may be eating:
1.    Blue-winged Olives
2  .  Sculpin, baitfish and small crayfish (Imitate with streamers)
3.    Little Brown Stoneflies
4.    Quill Gordons
5.    Blue Quills
6.    Little Black Caddis

I think I have covered the Quill Gordon hatch throughly, so I will move on to the Blue
Quills which should begin hatching about the same time. There are major
differences in the two mayflies as well as huge differences in the ways you need to
go about imitating them.

Blue Quills
A previous article, posted on February 16, provided information on the Blue Quill
nymphs. I don't need to repeat what I wrote but if you missed it, I suggest you
click
on this link and review it. It describes the areas of the streams the Blue Quill
nymphs hatch from along with other things relative to the hatch.

The Blue Quill (
Paralephophlebia adoptive) hatch is more difficult to imitate than the
Quill Gordon hatch. This is because they hatch from much shallower and slower
flower water. In many cases the water can be fairly smooth. This means the trout
can get a very good look at your fly whereas with the Quill Gordons, they usually
only get a short glimpse. The areas the Blue Quills hatch from are more difficult to
approach without spooking the trout than the areas the Quill Gordons hatch in.
Longer and more subtle presentations are required.

Now that I have made fishing the Blue Quill hatch sound more difficult, let me also
make some good points about it. It last much longer than the Quill Gordon hatch.
These mayflies continue to hatch as much as two or three weeks after the Quill
Gordons have finished hatching. During this period of time, they are sometimes the
only mayflies of significance that are hatching. There's usually a lag in the time the
Quill Gordons cease hatching and the Hendricksons and Red Quills begin to hatch.
During that time the trout will focus on the Blue Quills. By the way, don't think for a
second that because the Quill Gordon mayflies are larger that the trout prefer them
to the Blue Quills. That isn't the case at all. The trout will eat the Blue Quills just as
readily as the Quill Gordons.

The previous comment reminds me of a problem I think many anglers have
regarding the Blue Quills.
They use flies to imitate them that are to large. Blue
Quills have to stretch to be a hook size 18. There's no such thing as a hook size 16
Blue Quill mayfly. They don't get that large. In fact, the males are as near a hook
size 20 as they are an 18. The females are about a perfect size 18.

The reason this is a problem is that most all the fly shops sell Blue Quill flies that are
a hook size 16. I've seen Blue Quill flies as large as 14. It tells me that whoever sells
them is clueless about aquatic insects. Several of the commercially tied Blue Quill
flies sold by most fly shops, which are almost all tied in foreign countries by people
who have never seen a mayfly, come in hook sizes 16 and even 14.

While I'm on the subject of hook size, I should also mention that you will see Quill
Gordon flies that are a hook size 10. There's never been a Quill Gordon that grew
that large. This problem stems from the fly companies general lack of knowledge
about what they are imitating. The like selling large flies because, in general,
anglers like large flies. As long as there's flies on the market that are supposed to
imitate a certain species that are larger than the real insects, most anglers assume
there are insects the same size. That's a bad assumption to make. Also, please
note I am referring to the dun imitations. These same fly companies don't have
imitations of either the Blue Quill or Quill Gordon nymphs. They don't have
imitations of the spinners.

If you think hook size isn't important, or if you think using flies that imitate the insects
closely isn't important, you should ignore all of the above. You should just select
one fly, of any size, and fish with it day in and day out. If you are correct in your
assumption, there would never be a reason to change flies. The trout don't visit fly
shops. They don't know a Royal Wulff from a Blue Dun.


Down and Dirty  (some are clean) Tips and Recommendations for Fly
Fishing Destinations - Part 28
Just keep in mind that it is strictly one opinion that happens to be mine. The intent is to hopefully
give those interested a general idea of what to expect. Most likely every guide, affiliated business
entity and local angler will have a different opinion. These streams also have full coverage on our
Perfect Fly Stream Section.

South Fork of the Snake River Idaho
The South Fork of the Snake River is one of the most highly advertised trout
streams in the nation. There's a large number of outfitters, resort type lodges, and
guides that promote the river heavily. It's a very good trout stream but it's overrated
in my opinion. Only recently has anyone ever hinted that the South Fork has any
problem of any nature. They are now encouraging the killing of all rainbows caught
from the stream. There's no limit on the rainbows or the hybrids. The reason is the
rainbows have lowered the population of native cutthroat trout considerably during
the past few years. The state G and F people have even considered paying anglers
to kill the rainbows. The idea is to return the river to a more natural state.
What?
That's almost funny. There's a huge dam there and there's a huge lake (Palisades
Reservoir) on the river. Returning it to a more natural state would require an atomic
bomb. They don't even have release schedules for the tailwater discharges.
Everything is controlled by the needs of the farmers and ranchers. I'm not saying
that's wrong. I'm just saying it isn't the best thing from a trout fishing standpoint.

This is a very long river with a variety of fly fishing opportunities. There's plenty of
trout to be caught. Although it's mostly a drift boat river, there are some areas you
can access from the banks to wade. I think the South Fork of the Snake is an "A"
minus stream. The minus isn't there because of the shortage of cutthroats. I put it
there because of the way the discharges are managed, or I guess I should say the
way they are not managed for fishing. I do like Idaho Potatoes.
Check it out.

Copyright 2011 James Marsh