02/24/13

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

Most available - Other types of food:
8.    Sculpin, Minnows (Streamers)







This Week's Featured Trout Food - Quill Gordon - Nymphs
Quill Gordon nymphs are coming out from under the rocks on the bottom of the streams and getting ready to
hatch. There have been a few sightings of small, sporadic hatches in the very lowest elevations trout exist in,
but they have yet to really begin to hatch.

I talked to three anglers that called yesterday, asking for advice. They had fished dry flies all day Friday and
yesterday prior to calling me. As soon I learned what they were fishing, I ask why they were fishing dry flies.
Their answers were all the same. That was what local fly shops and one large chain sporting good shop had
sold them and told them to use. Not one of the three guys, each fishing by themselves at different locations,
all three from out of state locations, had caught a single trout.

I guess that's just the kind of advise you can expect to get from some of the shops. It is worse than worthless
advice. It is damaging advice. Of course, the fly shops don't have and don't sell Quill Gordon nymphs. Some
have begin to sell a Quill Gordon wet fly that imitates the insects hatching below the surface, but even those
are rather pitiful imitations of an emerging Quill Gordon mayfly. Furthermore, imitating the emerging dun
doesn't work until the insects actually begin to hatch.

Today, there may be an increase in these sporadic hatches due to warmer water temperatures. In general,
the weather has been a little warmer than normal this year during the previous fall and winter months, and
the insects have progressed a little further along than they normally do. That said, you are still not going to
see any major hatches worth catching a train to fish for a few more days. In fact, the weather is going to turn
cold again for a few days.

What will work right now is fishing imitations of the Quill Gordon Nymphs in the deeper pockets where
they move to in order to emerge. Blue Quill nymph imitations will also work but they are much more difficult to
present correctly. They hatch in shallow, slow moving water where spooking trout feeding on them can be a
big problem.

Prior to hatching, the Quill Gordon nymphs will migrate from their normally fast water habitat (the bottom and
crevices of rocks on the bottom in fast water) to nearby adjacent areas of calmer water. Unlike the Blue
Quills and many other mayflies, they don't move to shallow water areas. They remain in fairly deep water
usually, more in the middle of the streams than shallow water areas near banks. My guess is that if you took
an overall percentage of the total area of the water in a stream where the Quill Gordons nymphs moved to
hatch, it would be less than ten percent of the total area of water. The other ninety-plus percent of the area
of the stream would be completely void on Quill Gordon nymphs.

When these nymphs hatch, and they do so on or near the bottom, not on the surface or in the surface skim
like most mayflies. They usually quickly get caught up in the fast water that flows around the boulders or
large rocks creating the pockets. At times, you will see the duns riding the fast water of runs and riffles after
they emerge on the surface a but for now, everyone should be concentrating on the period of time prior to
the actual hatch. Prior to hatching trout don't feed on the nymphs very much because they live underneath
the rocks on the bottom. By the way, these nymphs are clingers that are almost flat and their eyes are on
the top of their heads, not the sides.

If you present good imitations of the Quill Gordon nymphs in the right areas of the streams, you
can usually catch a lot of trout in a short time.
Other than fishing at the right time in relationship to the
start of a hatch, the key is to get fairly close, and using upstream presentations, quickly getting the nymph
on the bottom in pockets near the current seams such as I just described. There are usually two seams, one
on each side of the rocks or boulders that create the pockets or miniature pools. Sometimes you can find
pockets of knee deep or deeper water along the banks of a stream where the Quill Gordons nymphs move
prior to a hatch, but that is the exception, not the rule.

The presentation can sometimes be done effectively using the high-sticking method in some areas but most
of the time it requires short, upstream presentations. It's best to not use a strike indicator. You want the fly
on the bottom all the time. You have to watch your fly line/leader for movement or actually feel a trout take
the fly. If your just starting, I suggest you use an indicator and keep the fly deep.
Copyright 2013 James Marsh
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Wednesday: Fishing Tales
Thursday: Smoky Mountains Fishing
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Friday: Getting Started
Saturday: Fly Fishing School
Sunday: This Week's Featured Trout
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