08/18/13

Insects and other foods the trout
should be eating:
Hatching:
1.     Slate Drakes
2.     Little Yellow Stoneflies (Summer Stones)
3.     Needle Stoneflies
4.     Mahogany Duns
5.     Little Yellow Quills
Most available - Other types of food:
6.     Sculpin, Minnows (Streamers)
7.      Inch Worms
8.     Grasshoppers
9.     Ants
10.   Beetles
11.   Craneflies
10.   Beetles



This Week's Featured Trout Food - Little Yellow Quills
Sorry I'm late today. It's that time of the year when the Little Yellow Quills start to hatch in
the high elevations. These mayflies are usually confused with Light Cahills by most
anglers. At this point in time, until you start seeing the duns it is best to fish imitations of
the nymph. It's normally about the first to as late as the middle of September before
they get to hatching good, but it also depends on the elevation and of course, the
weather. The start hatching when the water temperature falls down to a certain level, not
up like mayflies that hatch in the Spring. I have already spotted some hatching in the
higher elevations. These little mayflies bring about some excellent fishing right at a time
when other hatches are rare. They start in the little brook trout streams in the high
elevations and slowly progress down to the middle elevations. For some reasons, you only
see a few, if any, in the lower elevation streams.

Like most clinger mayfly nymphs, the Little Yellow Quill nymphs stay well hidden until they
are getting ready to hatch. At that time you will start seeing them exposed in the shallow
pockets in the fast water riffles, if you get down close to the water and look carefully. They
normally come out of their hiding places out from under the rocks about a week or two
before they begin to hatch. At that time, you can catch the trout about as fast as its
possible to catch them on imitations of the nymphs.

In the small streams, we normally fish them without any added weight and without any
indicator for sure. If the water is normal or high you may want to add a very small split shot
a few inches above the fly.

Our Little Yellow Quill Emerger flies actually work better than the dun imitations. As with
any emerger fly, they are slightly more difficult to fish that the dun imitations. These
mayflies come from the
Leucrocuta genus of the Heptageniidae family. The aphrodite,
hebe, juno
and minerva species are the most important. I have identified two of the four
listed above in the Smokies and I expect the others may also be present. It's almost
impossible to tell them apart with the naked eye. It requires a male and a microscope. I am
only basing my guess about the number of species on the long hatch times. It seems to
start and stop during a month and a half to a two month period of time and that's just too
long for two species of mayflies to hatch. I think it must be different species. By the way,
one fly easily imitates all of them. Again, these mayflies are also close to the Cream and
Light Cahills in respect that they are all clingers. It amazes me how well they do in acidic
water or water with a low pH.

The Little Yellow Quill mayflies shed their shucks under the water or maybe just below the
surface skim. I'm not sure which. I do know the imitation we developed works well with the
CDC wing floating flush with the skim. They hatch in rather calm or slow moving water at
the edges of the riffles and plunges. This is normally the heads of the little pools in the
high elevations but they also hatch in the slow water adjacent to runs and riffles in the
middle elevation streams.

Just cast the fly up, or slightly up and across, and let it drift watching your leader. If it
jumps or moves strangely, set the hook. You can usually see the fly (on most short cast)
but not always. Do not put any floatant the body of the fly. Applying it to the body will make
the fly float sideways.

I will have more on the Little Yellow Quill Duns and Spinners a week from now in the next
"Featured Trout Food" article.
Copyright 2013 James Marsh
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