02/25/12

Insects and other foods the trout should be eating:
Hatching:
1.    Midges
2.    Little Winter Stoneflies
3.    Blue-winged Ollives (
Baetis brunnicolor) and Little BWOs
4.    Blue Quills
5.    Quill Gordons
6.    Little Black Caddis (
Brachycentrus)
7.    
Little Brown Stoneflies

Most available/ Near hatching and/or other types of available food:
8.    Sculpin, Minnows (Streamers)


"K.I.S.S. A Bug" Series - Blue Quills - Part 5
Blue Quill Duns

I hope you have read the other four parts leading up to this article on the Blue Quill Dun. If not,
this won't be as helpful as I want it to be. I will repeat this from yesterday's article:

"By the time the Blue Quill mayfly becomes a dun, it's usually caught up in a current seam where
the slower water meets faster moving water. During the time the mayfly is emerging, it's usually
still in the smoother, slower moving marginal water".

As mentioned above, the Blue Quill duns usually get caught up in the current seams between the
fast and slow to moderate water they hatch in, but depending on the weather at the time they
hatch, they don't always drift on the surface a long ways before they are able to fly. In some
cases, they are able to hatch and fly off the slower water before they get caught up in the current
seams. This means you need to cast the imitation of the dun to where it lands at the edge of the
slower water they normally hatch in, but very close to the current seam. When they do get caught
in the current seams, which is most of the time, they usually drift a few feet before they are able
to fly. Since they hatch when the water is as cold as fifty degrees, and continue to hatch in a
given area of a stream even when the water becomes colder than that, they often drift for as long
as twenty feet or more before being able to fly. My guess is the average length of the dun's drift
is probably around twenty feet.

Most of the time the duns are caught in shallower riffles that adjoin the slack water areas of the
streams but they can also hatch adjacent to a fast water runs. In this case, the duns drift further
than they normally would before they are able to depart the water.

When you make your upstream presentation of the dun, you want to target the current seams but
you want the fly to land in the slower side of the seam, not the fast water side. At times the trout
will take the fly within a few seconds of the time it lands on the water, but not often. You want to
get as long of a drag free drift as possible. The problem is making a good, longer presentation
whereas the fly lands on the water without any disturbance. To make this simple, catching trout
consistently on Blue Quill dun imitations requires good cast and good presentation skills. This
isn't a matter of making a lot of short, upstream presentations that lands in fast water. It requires
cast that on the average may be thirty even forty feet long, yet land exactly where you intend for
the fly to land and with little to no disturbance. Trout feeding on the Blue Quills can see you
better than trout feeding on many other mayflies. It also requires the fly drifts drag free without
having to mend the line instantly. In fact, you don't want to have to mend the line before the fly is
caught in the faster moving water at all, if you can avoid it. The bottom line is catching trout on
Blue Quill imitations of the dun or the emerger, is more difficult than it is imitating many other
mayflies. This is the main reason most anglers that fish the Smokies prefer making a lot of short
presentations in the fast water runs and riffles. They can get by with a lot more.

You also need to use longer, lighter leaders and tippets. Most of the time you can get by with
using 9 foot leaders ending in a 6X tippet. Longer and lighter leaders than that aren't needed but
anything less in length and larger in size, becomes a disadvantage. Also, the trout usually get a
decent look at the Blue Quills, much better looks than they usually get of the Quill Gordon duns
and other clinger mayflies, for example. That means having a good imitation of the real mayfly
dun is even more important. Our Perfect Fly Blue Quill duns, sold completely out at this particular
time, by the way, will catch more trout than any of the generic, common fly shop patterns that are
suppose to be Blue Quill dun imitations. We should have them in stock again by the end of next
week. We still have a few emergers and emergers with trailing shucks which usually catch more
trout than the dun pattern. The huge increase in our fly sells in general and the early hatches this
season caught us off guard in spite of our objective of never running out of anything.
Copyright 2012 James Marsh
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