02/18/12

Insects and other foods the trout should be eating:
Hatching:
1.    Midges
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 7:
Quill Gordon Spinner

A spinner is the angler's term for the final stage of life of the mayfly. Actually, scientist consider
the dun and spinner adults with the spinner being the true grown adult. They call the spinner the
imago stage of the mayfly's life.

A Rundown on the Brief Adult Life and Death of a Mayfly:
As soon as the duns emerge from the stream and fly off to the trees and bushes, they begin to
molt into spinners. A layman's way of putting this is they become sexually mature.  The mayflies,
including the Quill Gordons, undergo some fairly drastic changes, not only in appearance, they
also change the physically size of some body parts. Their tails and to some extent, their legs
become longer. Their abdomen becomes skinnier. The wings usually become hyaline,
translucent, or clear, leaving only the dark molting and veining pattern if present.

This all usually takes place within the first day of their life. Some species are fully developed and
mate the same day they hatch and others do so the following day. The exact time of mating
varies from species to species and to some extent, with the weather.

The Quill Gordon male spinners go out over the water in the same areas they emerged and do
what I call the mayfly dance. They congregate in swarms and move back and forth, up and down.
Some contend this is to attract the females so they can mate. When the females approach them
the dancing intensifies. Copulation begins and ends in mid-air. As soon as they are finished, the
male spinners fall dead on the water, or sometimes on the banks of the stream. The ones that fall
on the water drift away with the current and often get eaten by trout.

As soon as the females eggs have been fertilized from copulation, they fly back to the bushes
and trees along the stream until the eggs become ready for ovipositing. Ovipositing is a fancy
word for the female depositing her eggs on or in the water. The time this takes varies but is
usually very short. It's sometimes less than an hour but often longer, again, depending on the
species of mayfly. Most species of mayflies fly out over the water from which they emerged and
deposit the eggs on the surface of the water. Some drop them from the air just above the water.
Other species of mayflies crawl into the water and deposit them on the rocks. Some dive into the
water and deposit their eggs on the submerged wood, vegetation and rocks. When ovipositing
(egg laying) is finished, the mayflies wings fall spent (flat) and the females spinners float away in
the current or get eaten by trout. Quill Gordon Spinners continued tomorrow
Copyright 2012 James Marsh
Thumbnail Image: Click for a larger view
The "Perfect Fly" Quill Gordon Spinner
The wings are made from white hen
feathers but when wet, they become
translucent and appear to be clear
especially when in the water.
The thorax is made from dubbing and
the body of the fly is made from a
turkey biot. The biot not only closely
imitates the segmentation of the  
mayflies body, it also helps the fly
float well.
If you expand the above image, you
will see there are two tails made from
nylon that are split like that of the real
Quill Gordons, not a clump of hair
that's used for the tails of cheaply tied
fly shop versions. Actually, most fly
shops don't have a specific fly pattern
for the spinner stage of the Quill
Gordon mayfly. They have a generic
"one fly matches all spinners".
Note: Rusty body color, clear wings, long legs and tail (one missing in image)