Insects and other foods the trout should be eating:
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 - Hendrickson and Red Quill - Part 7
Hendrickson and Red Quill Spinners
This is the final article on the Hendrickson and Red Quill and one that's about the most important
part of the hatch as far as we're concerned - the spinner fall. It may or may not be appropriate for
streams in the park because of the legal fishing hours. There are times the spinner fall takes
place after you can legally fish. Those times would most likely be on bright, clear sunshiny days.
On days that are overcast or cloudy, even misting rain, you'll almost always find the spinner fall
occurring much earlier. As with most mayflies, the Hendricksons and Red Quills hatch in larger
quantities when there's low light conditions and consequently, this increases the numbers during
the spinner fall.
Remember, the males fall spent on the water or bank as soon as they mate. The females, full of
eggs, follow shortly afterwards. They appear from overhead and descend above the surface of
the water to deposit their eggs. They then fall spent and die. There can be a lot of spent mayflies
on the water in a relatively small area.
The female usually drops her eggs from above the water. They will get near the surface at times,
at even touch the surface of the water with their eggs at times, but most of the egg clusters are
dropped from above the water. The eggs will be dropped over the ends of the long runs and
riffles where they hatched but the trout won't attempt to feed on them where they first hit the
If the hatch is heavy, the fish will usually get into feeding lanes where the water has congregated
the spinners and develop a steady feeding rhythm eating them. Start out using a Red Quill male
spinner imitation. When the females arrive, change flies to the Hendrickson spinner to imitate the
Sometimes, downstream presentations are necessary in order to keep from spooking the trout
feeding on the spinners. This is usually in pockets, the edges and ends of pools, and anywhere
where the water is fairly smooth and the spinners are collecting. You will not be able to see the
spinners on the water, but you should be able to notice them over the water if you look for them
before they fall. You want be able to see the trout feeding on them in most cases. The only clue
would be a very small rise ring. You have to fish the areas of the stream where it's obvious the
current would collect the spinners.
The mistake many anglers make with just about all the mayfly spinner falls is they expect to see
either the trout feeding on them, the mayflies falling to the water, or the females dipping down to
the water to deposit her eggs. The reality is, most of the time, especially if your not looking
for it, you won't notice anything. The results is, many anglers, if not most anglers, let
the spinner fall go without attempting to fish it without even knowing it. If not, they
simple stop fishing before it takes place thinking the action is over for the day. Again, this mistake
is made on just about all the spinner falls,not just the Hendricksons and Red Quills.
Keep in mind, this entire process doesn't usually last over an hour or two at the absolute most.
Fishing the spinner fall is a short time event. The thing about is, if the spinner fall is heavy,
and it can be in isolated areas of the streams, even in the Smokies, there are times you
can catch a trout on almost every cast.
Often, when you're fishing a Hendrickson/Red Quill spinner fall, you may also be fishing another
mayfly spinner fall and not even know it. It's possible there are some BWOs, Blue Quills, Quill
Gordons, March Browns and other mayfly spinners falling to the water. The Red Quill imitation is
a rusty color spinner that matches other species of mayflies. In low light conditions, it often works
on other mayflies, especially those near the same hook size.
If you have been fishing the park all afternoon and picked up a few trout during the hatches, you
may well find that fishing a spinner fall may result in hooking more trout within less than an hour's
time than you've managed to catch all day long.
This mayfly doesn't usually start hatching until the end of March. Due to the abnormal warm
weather we have experienced during the past three months, all the mayfly nymphs have
developed roughly about a month ahead of their normal schedule. We will probably be adding
this mayfly to the above list of insects within the next couple of days.
Copyright 2012 James Marsh