03/15/13

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)






Getting Started - A Quill Gordon Puzzle
Sorry I'm late today. We are putting a lot of new items on our Perfect Fly website and I have been busy with
that. We are adding fly lines, backing, floatants, fly reels, a new fly rod, several new tools and some other
products I will soon be announcing.

I thought what I'm calling the Quill Gordon Puzzle might help some folks fishing this weekend. Several years
ago, we applied and paid for a permit to catch, photograph and video aquatic insects from the streams of
the park. We had been doing this all over the nation for a couple of years but one of the mayfly nymphs we
had not acquired was the Quill Gordon. After getting the permit, I figured that would be very easy to do the
following Spring in the Smokies because we had seen and photographed plenty of duns and spinners in
other easter streams the year before. As it turned out, it wasn't as easy as I thought it would be.In fact,
studying the Quill Gordons and trying to capture the nymphs gave me a completely different
perspective on them. As it turned out, the education resulted in our being able to catch trout during the first
part of the hatch when, as a general rule, many other anglers couldn't. Let me explain.

In the late winter before the Quill Gordon hatch started, when we would use our kick nets to collect and
photo stream samples from the streams of the Smokies, we would capture a huge number of insects. This
was simply because nothing significant had hatched and the streams were loaded with nymphs. We also
noticed something very weird. We wouldn't come up with any Quill Gordon nymphs in the net.

We continued to move around thinking we were just not in the right water. We finally checked out some
places we knew they hatched the year before. We still didn't find any nymphs. We continued to get in deeper
water and different places in the stream and it seemed the nymphs just didn't exist even where we knew they
had previously hatched. Out of options, we finally checked the water in a small pocket behind a large
boulder. We came up with a net full of Quill Gordon nymphs. We continued to do this other pockets behind
boulders in places where we knew Quill Gordons existed from previous year's hatches and it resulted in the
same thing - lots of Quill Gordon nymphs.

Later, we discovered that some authors had written about the fact that these nymphs will move out of the
fast water runs and riffles and into calmer water to hatch. This information was in some of the books that we
had read but it just hadn't registered with us. The kick net doesn't work out of the current very well and we
had avoided the pockets.

In other words, we discovered where the nymphs had seem to disappear and we discovered where we
should be fishing imitations of the nymphs prior to a hatch. This is also how we learned where to present our
wet fly emerging adult imitation when the Quill Gordons first begin to emerge.

When they hatch and reach the surface, they get caught up in a current seam beside the pocket and head
downstream. Up until that point, we had always fished the riffles and runs like ninety plus percent of
everyone else. Knowing exactly where to fish nymphs during the mornings during the hatch and a week or
two before the hatch began, made a huge difference. Knowing the nymphs hatched into duns on the bottom
and that we should fish a wet fly when the water was not quite warm enough for the good dry fly fishing
everyone prefers, also enabled us to catch a lot more trout from the Quill Gordon hatch. The result was, we
caught trout when others were having little to no success.

The summarize, you should fish imitations of the large Quill Gordon clinger nymphs in the pockets, not in the
fast water runs and riffles where the duns are drifting after emerging.
Copyright 2013 James Marsh
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