03/08/12

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)

Update on "Strategies" for this weekend
As I expected, they increased the chance of rain for tomorrow (Friday) from 50 to 100 percent. I
wrote that as if I knew more than the weather guys did but what I really mean by that is they just
always seem reluctant to put the chances of rain high until it nears the due date and they are
certain. The good news is, AccuWeather says that's only going to amount to a quarter of an inch
of rain in Gatlinburg. The stream levels are currently just great and if the forecast is even close to
being right, they will continue to be in great shape to at least well into next week.

A couple of short fishing trips in the park both proved that the bugs haven't paid any attention to
the changing weather lately. The Quill Gordons and Blue Quills are hatching in some of the
streams that normally lag behind those that drain for the lower elevation watersheds.

The Middle Prong of Little Pigeon River (Greenbrier) is in great shape with plenty of hatches
taking place. I managed to catch a few rainbows in a very short time there yesterday. The West
Prong of Little Pigeon River (the one that flows through Gatlinburg) is also in great shape. I
picked up a couple of rainbows there in just a few minutes of fishing when the water temperature
was still in the high forties. Both of these stream drain from higher elevations than the three
prongs of Little River. From the reports I'm getting, the Quill Gordon hatches have slowed down
on Little River. My guess is that isn't true at all, provided you fish the upper part above Elkmont.

I haven't had the time to cross the mountains and check out the North Carolina side of the park.
That's in my plans for this weekend. My guess is things are in great shape just about anywhere
you want to fish the park.

"K.I.S.S. A Bug" Series - Hendrickson and Red Quill - Part 4
Emergers

Yesterday, a customer called and asked why we have three Perfect Fly Emerger patterns for the
Hendrickson and Red Quills. We have two different types of emergers for all the mayflies that
emerge on the surface of the water - an emerger and an emerger with a trailing shuck. When
they mayflies emerge from a nymph into a dun, they go through a drastic change from an
appearance standpoint. At any one point during the process, the emerging mayfly looks different
than it did just a few seconds prior to that. The Hendrickson and Red Quill is one species of
mayfly I have actually watched hatch in an aquarium. Unlike the clinger nymphs, the crawlers are
usually fairly easy to keep alive. If you attempted to create a realistic fly pattern for the emerging
Hendrickson/Red Quill mayfly, you would need several patterns that all looked a little different
from one another. While this is true of any mayfly that emerges in the surface skim, it's especially
true of the Hendrickson and Red Quill because the male and female duns look very different.
They have completely different color bodies and slightly different color wings. The wings continue
to lighten in color the longer the duns are out of the water. Of course, that's why this particular
species of mayfly has two names, one for the male (Red Quill) and one for the female
(Hendrickson).

The plain emerger pattern shown on your right top, is intended to imitate the emerging mayfly
when it still looks more like a nymph than it does a dun. It represents the emerging nymph just
after the wing pad splits and the wings begin to unfold. When it  floats in the water, the hook
drops down to more of a vertical position because it is suspended by the CDC wing flush with the
surface. The real nymphs do the same thing. They are in an almost vertical position when they
first begin to emerge.

By the time the emerging mayfly nymph gets it's very think, almost translucent covering off its
body, it picks up the body colors of the male or female, depending on the gender of the nymph.
At that point in time, the emerging mayfly looks more like a dun than it does a nymph. The
emerging dun has the same colors of the male or female's body. It has the shuck almost off it's
tail. The shuck is imitated with Antron that in the water, looks quite realistic.

The Hendricksons/Red Quills usually hatch when the water is between 50 and 55 degrees. The
nymphs swim to the surface to hatch using a wiggle motion of their bodies. They may repeat this
process several times (at least in my aquarium) prior to hatching. I suppose this depends on the
weather and water conditions. It's logical to assume that it is during this time, and the time they
are accenting to the surface, that they are most subject to being eaten by the trout.

Presentation:
Emerger imitations should be presented after the hatch first begins in the afternoons in the
slow to moderately moving water where these mayflies hatch. The emerger fly should be placed
close enough to the current seams that the water will take the fly on downstream, but not in the
fast water. Don't overlook the riffles. These mayflies can hatch in the small, miniature pools
(pockets) of the riffles as well as the larger areas of slow to moderate water. Most larger
populations of are in the tail ends, or shallower areas of the pools.

This is the perfect hatch to use a trailing shuck version of the emerger. We have experienced
action in the park from both types of emerger imitations - the emerging nymph and the trailing
shuck dun. Trial and error may be the best way to determine which type of emerger imitation to
use. Once you find a hatch underway, our experience is that there usually isn't much of a
problem catching trout on either type, or either the male or female emerger imitation.

We have two versions of this mayfly in each of the emerger, dun and spinner stages of life. In
many streams where Hendricksons and Red Quills are very plentiful, anglers insist the trout can
become selective on either the male or the female. Although we have found this to be true with
the spinners, which fall on the water at different times, we can't say we could prove it's true of the
emerging duns. Many anglers disagree and say the trout do change their preferences during the
hatch. With flies that match both the males and females, they at least have an option.
Copyright 2012 James Marsh
Perfect Fly Hendrickson/Red Quill emerger
Perfect Fly Hendrickson/Red Quill emerger
with a trailing shuck - Female (Hendrickson)
Perfect Fly Hendrickson/Red Quill emerger
with a trailing shuck - Male (Red Quill)