Insects and other foods the trout
should be eating:
1. BWOs (Little BWOs)
3. Little Winter Stoneflies
Most available/ Other types of food:
4. Sculpin, Minnows (Streamers)
Sorry for the missing articles the last few days. I've been out and unable to publish
articles on this site since Wednesday. I normally use a Gotomypc.com program to do
that from a remote location, but I guess the security settings on my newest computer
made that impossible. It may also be that I need a better software program.
This Week's Featured Trout Food - Quill Gordons
The fact that the Quill Gordon mayflies are one of the first mayflies to hatch each year,
and probably even more so, the fact they are quite large, makes them one of the most
popular aquatic insects that hatch in the Smokies. They are large, but not quite as large
as many want to make them out to be.
We have captured and video taped/photographed a lot of them in the Smokies as
well as many other locations in the East, and we have yet to see one larger than a hook size
12. Of course, hook size is an arbitrary value, but I'll put it this way. If the hook is halfway
in proportion to the size of the body and wings of the fly, most Quill Gordon duns
would be somewhere between a size 14 and 12 hook size. There is a gender difference.
The males are slightly smaller than the females. We have also noticed that the higher the
pH of the water, the larger the size of the Quill Gordons. A female in Penns Creek, a stream
with a high pH, is a full size 12. Most of the males in the Smokies are closer to a size 14
than a 12, but the females are probably closer to a size 12. I'm pointing this out because you will see some
fly shops that sell Quill Gordon dun imitations in a size 10. That's because the companies they buy them
from don't know a Quill Gordon from Quill Marsh.
I always get a kick out of anglers that say "the trout aren't looking up yet", when they have problems getting
the trout to take their dry fly imitations of the Quill Gordon duns. Trout are always looking up. They see all
the way around their front side - up, down, left and right. It's mostly because the emerging mayflies are much
easier for the trout to acquire below the surface of the water than on the surface. While this is generally true
for most any aquatic insect, it is especially true for the Quill Gordons and more so when they first begin to
hatch before the water warms much beyond 50 degrees.. It's also due to the fact they don't hatch in the
surface skim like most mayflies. They hatch on the bottom or somewhere between the bottom and the
For those that are new to fly fishing for trout, let me also point this out. "Hatch" is slag for "emerge". Quill
Gordon mayflies, and for that matter all mayflies, hatch from eggs. The Quill Gordons hatched last April and
May. They will begin to emerge from nymphs into duns in the very near future. If the weather turns warm next
week, this could start happening in the lowest elevations before the end of the month. You can pretty well
count on it happening within the first couple of weeks in March. They already have fully developed wing
pads. All they need to begin to emerge is water that stays around 50 degrees or higher for two or three
I'll be putting the Quill Gordons, Blue Quills, Little Brown Stoneflies and Grannom Caddis (Little Black
Caddis) on the above list of insect tomorrow. If your planning on fishing the streams of the Smokies within
the next month, I suggest you have imitations of these insects, along with the Blue-winged Olives (beatis size
16/18). When I say imitations of them. I don't mean just in the dun and/or adult stages. If you want to help
insure that your consistently successful, It's more important to have them in the nymphal and/or pupal
stages of life than the adult stages. As just mentioned, early in the year when the water is still fairly cold, the
trout often refuse the dry fly imitations in preference to the sub-surface imitations.
The "Perfect Fly" Emerging Dun, or "wet fly" imitation of the Quill Gordon is often the "American Express
Card" for the early season hatches of this mayfly.
Copyright 2013 James Marsh
New Schedule of Daily Articles
Mondays: Weather and Stream Conditions
Forecast - Coming Week
Tuesdays: Fly Fishing Strategies - Which
Flies To Use - Coming Week
Wednesday: Fishing Tales
Thursday: Smoky Mountains Fishing Report
Friday: Getting Started
Saturday: Fly Fishing School
Sunday: This Week's Featured Trout Food
More Options For Selecting Flies:
1. Email us with the dates you will be
fishing the park and we will send
you a list of our fly suggestions.
Please allow up to 24 hours for a
2. Call us at 800-594-4726 and we
will help you decide which flies you
3. Call or email us with a budget for
flies and we will select them and get
them to you in time for your trip.
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orders of any size. Orders over $50
are shipped free via Priority Mail.
"Perfect Fly" Quill Gordon Emerging Dun
"Perfect Fly" Quill Gordon Dun