Insects and other foods the trout should be eating:
2. Little Winter Stoneflies (Capniidae/Taeniopterygidae)
3. Blue-winged Ollives (Baetis brunnicolor) and Little BWOs
4. Blue Quills
5. Quill Gordons
6. Little Black Caddis (Brachycentrus)
Most available/ Near hatching and/or other types of available food:
7. Sculpin, Minnows (Streamers)
"K.I.S.S. A Bug" Series - Quill Gordon - Part 5:
Emerging Quill Gordons
Note: If you haven't done so already, please go back and read the last K.I.S.S. article. It
will make this one a lot more useful.
As you noticed in the last article, Quill Gordon part 4, I recommended using the "Perfect Fly"
Emerging Dun, a wet fly, or the "Perfect Fly" Dun, a dry fly. To keep from repeating it, in
yesterday's Strategy Article, I wrote this:
"More frequently, when the water temperatures are marginal for surface action and the trout are
eating the emerging duns between the bottom (where they emerge into duns) and the surface of
the water, the dry fly imitation of the dun fails to work. In fact, in my opinion, it's actually always
the case that more of the naturals are eaten below the surface than on the surface. However,
when the water is on the cool side of about 50 degrees, the trout can become even more prone
to eat the emerging duns.
I developed a Perfect Fly pattern for the emerging dun a few years ago. I first called it a Wed Dun
and then changed the name to an Emerging Adult. It not only works great for the Quill Gordon
but different versions of it works the other three common species within the same genera. It has
become a very popular fly to use when the Quill Gordons are hatching yet a little reluctant to take
an imitation of the dun from the surface."
Again, I'll mentioned that when the Quill Gordons emerge from an nymph into a dun (a fly that
once their wings are dry can fly off of the water) they do so on the bottom. The wet fly that you
see on your right is designed to imitated those emerging duns before they reach the surface. The
fly has a strap of deer hair on its back secured by fine gold wire that helps add some buoyancy to
the fly. When you add a split-shot weight a few inches above the fly, the added buoyancy helps it
tend to rise a little above the level of the split-shot. To imitate the natural emerging nymphs, the
drift should allow the fly to rise from the bottom of the stream to the surface like the real ones.
Remember, the Quill Gordons move from their normal fast water habitat in the bottom of the runs
to the nearest moderate to slow flowing water before they hatch. I went over this in previous
articles in this series. That's where you want to cast the Emerging Dun fly. Add enough weight
and give the fly enough time to sink all the way to the bottom just outside the fast water/slow
water current seam in the slower moving water. Mending your fly line a time or two will help get it
down without adding a lot of weight.
When the fly gets on the bottom, raise your rod tip slightly to very slowly bring the fly up to the
surface as it drifts downstream towards your position. You want to maneuver the fly from the
slower water into the current seam between the fast and slower moving water. Most of the time
the fast water will catch the fly and this will be almost automatic. If not, bring the tip of your fly rod
sideways in the direction of the fast water to help it. You want the fly to slowly come from the
bottom and arrive at the surface near the ends of the fast water runs. Of course, this will always
depend on the water speed, length of the drift and other things. Try to imagine the real emerging
duns changing to a dun on the bottom and rising to the surface and imitate what you think would
happen to the real mayfly.
Lets use this situation for an example. Lets suppose you want to fish the slower water behind a
large boulder that's in the middle of the stream that has current flowing around each side of the
boulder. That would be a very common area for the Quill Gordons to hatch. Make sure the water
behind the boulder is at least a couple of feet deep. Lets assume you want to fish the current
seam where the water flows around the side of the boulder and into the run that's on your right.
Cast the fly into the miniature pool behind the boulder about a foot from the current seam to your
right and mend your line to help get the fly on the bottom. Bring the rod tip up very slowly and
slightly to your right in such a manner that the fly will get caught up in the water coming around
the boulder. You will notice the fly line, leader and eventually the fly will almost always get caught
by the faster water with little help from you. Keep raising the rod tip until the fly reaches the
surface. On longer cast, you may need to strip in a little line during the drift. Again, this all
depends on the water and the length of your upstream cast, but usually the drift will take place
(fly rise from the bottom to the surface) between five to ten feet and rarely over twenty feet.
The trout will sometimes take the fly when it's in the pocket and sometimes when it first gets to the
current seam, but most often, when it is between mid depth and the surface near the end of the
fast water run. Keep in mind, you don't want to wade into the area of water near the ends of the
runs. That would spook the trout feeding on the emerging Quill Gordons. The presentation
should be made slightly up and across the stream, so that when the fly reaches near the end of
the run it's across from your position, not right in front of your legs.
Tomorrow, I will continue with fishing imitations of the Quill Gordon Dun, or a dry fly imitation of
Copyright 2012 James Marsh
Thumbnail Image: Click for a larger size
"Perfect Fly" Quill Gordon Emerging Adult