Insects and other foods the trout
should be eating:
1. BWOs (Little BWOs)
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 Dun
I finished an article for yesterday's Fly Fishing School but for some reason, I guess being rushed a little, I
didn't publish it. I will save it until next week. Sorry about that. I hope it didn't cause any heart failures, just
normal day to day disappointment.
The Quill Gordon Dun:
The dun is the stage of life of the Quill Gordon mayfly that excites most anglers. The dun is what they mostly
see on the streams and identify the insect from. They are fairly large mayflies but about as plain, colorless
and ugly as a mayfly can get. Often you can see them drifting on the surface of the water. Often you see
that they are not being eaten doing that, which is the only problem with the dun. Trout don't always eat them,
especially when they first start hatching.
I always get a kick out of anglers saying the trout are not used to seeing flies on the surface when that
happens. Some will say "the trout aren't looking up yet". I guess they have never paid much attention to the
eyes of a trout. They can't help but look up. They are always looking up. What is occurring is that the
trout can eat all of the mayflies they want during the time they are emerging under water with a
lot less effort. That is why the emerger imitation always out performs the dun. Another reason is that often
the water is only around 50 degrees and may even be less if it happened to have dropped during the hatch.
That just reduces the surface feeding activity because, in simple terms, the trout are still a little too cold to
be very active. You will still be able to catch them on the surface every once in a while, even when the water
is that cold. It just isn't as effective of a method as it would be fishing below the surface.
The thing that makes this mayfly important and the most talked about mayfly of the year in the Smokies is
the fact that it is the first one that brings much exciting action on the dry fly. The cold water and air
temperatures don't allow the mayflies wings to dry very fast and as a result, they sometimes have to ride the
surface a rather lengthy amount of time compared to other mayflies. The Blue Quills, that are hatching about
the same time, bring on decent dry fly action but the hatch is more difficult to fish and the flies are not as
large. There is just something about large insects that turns anglers on. It turns them on a lot more than it
turns the trout on.
When we start seeing duns on the surface and trout begin to eat them, we change to our imitation of the
dun. It is fairly easy to determine when the trout begin to eat them on the surface. You can see and hear
We fish the dun up and across making a lot of short cast. You want to place the fly near the ends of the
current seams and allow it to drift drag free down the stream just below the pockets. Keeping the fly in the
bubbles is a great way to insure you have the fly in the right place. Don't forget about the edges of the
current seams along the banks. Not all of the Quill Gordons hatch out in the pockets behind rocks and
boulders. You want the dun to drift in the faster moving water, not the slow water of the pockets. Just in case
you are wondering about it, Quill Gordons don't hatch in pools. When the trout takes the dun imitation, you
will know it. It can be very exciting dry fly fishing.
Here is a tip for you. If it is the right time of day for the Quill Gordons to be hatching (generally the warmest
part of the day) don't waste a lot of time in any one place if you are not catching trout. Move around to
different areas of the stream. You may find an entirely different situation fifty yards away. In fact, if you don't
have a clue where to fish on the stream or where they may be hatching, you may need to move around a
great deal and a fairly long distance within that short time period to find them.
Copyright 2013 James Marsh
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