Insects and other foods the trout should be eating:
2. Little Winter Stoneflies
Most available/ Near hatching and other types of available food:
3. Sculpin, Minnows (Streamers)
4. Blue Quills (Nymphs)
5. Blue-winged Olives (Nymphs)
"K.I.S.S. A Bug" Series - Quill Gordon - Part 1:
The history of the common name "Guill Gordon"
Mr. Theodore Gordon was the first American born fly fisherman to be given credit for coming up
with a fly pattern that worked for trout in the fast pocket water streams of the Neversink River in
New York. Ironically, he spent much of his time as a young man in Carlisle Pennsylvania and later
in life in Savannah Georgia. He later moved to New York.
If you have even been to Carlisle, you would know that's the location of the Letort Spring Run,
one of the most difficult to fish spring creeks in Pennsylvania. It has the same, clear water that's
common to an English caulk stream. That's where he got his fly patterns for the Neversink only to
discover the English dry fly version not only imitated different mayflies, it didn't work well at all in
the fast water of the Neversink. That's why Theodore changed the English dry flies to what's now
called the Catskill style of flies that use vertical wound hackle. That make the low floating English
flies stay on top of the water in the fast water streams of the Catskills. You see, in my book,
Theodore Gordon was responsible for far more than a fly. He is one of the first to realize that the
down and across English wet fly swing didn't work well in fast pocket water for trout. He was one
of the first to be recognized for fishing in an upstream direction; however, in doing so, he
discovered the English dry flies didn't float very well in the fast water of the Catskill streams.
The "Quill" in the name "Quill Gordon" came from the fact quills were used for the body of the fly.
The fly is a beautiful fly but is a terrible imitation of a Quill Gordon mayfly. It works to some extent
simply because Quill Gordons are clinger nymphs that when hatching, get caught up in the fast
water of pocket water streams. I'll have more on this later. To me, it's unbelievable that this fly is
still commonly sold by fly shops. It's tail is a clump of hair that is a poor imitation of the real
mayfly's two spit tails. The body is segmented by the quill but too skinny and not the color of the
body of the Quill Gordon mayfly. It's far too light in color. There's not any yellow in the wings of
the real fly. They are brownish gray, very dark at first but change to a lighter shade later in the
one day of their life as a fly. The vertically wound hackle that is suppose to imitate the mayflies
legs makes it appear the legs are in one place all under the head of the fly and they aren't. They
are spread out from just behind the head to almost the end of the body of the real insect.
The fly works every bit as good as a T Model ford that's in great shape but you'll have to back up
highway #411 near Newfound Gap using the reverse lower gear ratio of the T Model if you want
to change sides of the park. You'll have to watch the trout that happen to get a good look at your
fly turn away if you use the one below. The only advantage of the fly is it won't blow out of the T-
model Ford. It won't go fast enough for that.
Copyright 2012 James Marsh
Quill Gordon dry fly sold by many fly shops
A real Quill Gordon mayfly from the Great Smoky Mountains.
I'm joking about the T model in a way, but not in reality. The Quill Gordon dry fly as such is a poor
imitation of the real deal as you can easily see. It will fool some trout but only because the fish
gets just a quick glimpse of it in fast water. More on this later.
As you can gather, Quill, came from the "quill" of the Peacock feather used for the body of the fly
and "Gordon" came from Mr. Gordon's last name. That works just great as the name for this fly.
It's easy to remember and commonly used. The real name of the mayfly it imitates is a Eperous
pleuralis. Ops, I'm sorry. That's the scientific name which happens to be in Latin. Forget that but
realize that there's a reason the scientist have to use such goofy names you don't need to
remember. For example, in this case there's also a Eperous vitreus, (forget this too) or another
mayfly that exist in the fast water streams just north of the Smokies and are plentiful in the
Catskills. Maybe that's what old Theodore thought he was imitating. We will never know, will
The above Quill Gordon fly, sold by most fly shops, is a better imitation of the vitreus than what
anglers call a Quill Gordon. Most anglers don't know what this mayfly is and call it many names
but it's most often called a Gray Winged Yellow Quill. Now don't you entomologist act alike know it
alls get all upset but for my KISS series, I'll just call it a sister to the Quill Gordon, rather than a
species of the Eperous genera. If you don't like it, sue me. I'll talk the judge into taking up fly
These don't exist in the Smokies, or at least I haven't found any, but I'm bringing it up to get
through the first grade of my "Keep it simple stupid" or KISS series of the Quill Gordon chapter.
Hey, were only getting started. I'm just showing you how "advanced" fly tying has become.
Theodore would probably laugh out loud if he knew his fly hadn't been improved in a hundred
years, that is until Perfect Fly came along.
Gray-Gray Winged Yellow Quill (the Quill Gordon's sister)
IS, Internet Script, instead of PS: Where old Theodore fished is now 50 feet under Neversink Reservoir