08/10/09

Insects and other foods the trout may be eating:
1.   Blue-winged Olives - mostly Little BWO - Isolated hatches
2.   Mahogany Duns
3.   Midges - hatching in isolated locations
4.   Little Yellow Stoneflies - hatching (Little Summer Stones)
5.   Slate Drakes - hatching
6.   Cream Cahills - hatching in Isolated locations
7.   Beetles
8.   Grasshoppers
9.   Ants
10. Inch Worms
11. Crane Flies
12. Helligramite
13. Streamers - matching sculpin, baitfish and small crawfish

Little Yellow Quills - Emergers
Since this mayfly is not commonly mentioned by anyone referring to hatches that
occur in Great Smoky Mountains National Park, let me again mention the specific
mayflies called the Little Yellow Quills. These mayflies are species of the
Leucrocuta genus of the Heptageniidae family of mayflies. The aphrodite, hebe,
juno
and minerva species are the most important. The only one listed officially for
the park is the
thetis species. During the summer and early fall when most mayflies
have hatched, these show up on many Eastern trout streams. Again, I am not
certain as to which species exist in the park because I have not keyed the mayfly to
find out. Since the
Leucrocuta genus is now tossed in a group called the  
Heptagenia group, and since I know the park has the Heptagenia  julia and
Heptagenia marginalis species, that does little to help.

There is very little difference in the species of the
Leucrocuta genus. These
mayflies are often confused with Light Cahills and Cream Cahills. I believe the Little
Yellow Quills become the main source of food for trout at the time of year they
hatch, especially those rainbows and brook trout found in the mid to higher
elevations. Unless Blue-winged olives or some very plentiful species of caddisfly or
stonefly is hatching, the trout will concentrate on eating the hatching Little Yellow
Quills. We have found them in the higher elevation brook trout streams even where
the water has a very low pH value.

We have not raised these nymphs in an aquarium and/or been able to determine
exactly how they hatch. The clingers are difficult to keep alive. The books all say
that they hatch into duns a few inches below the surface of the water and depart
the water very quickly. That must be true because you will rarely spot a dun on the
surface. We believe they hatch either early in the morning or in the evenings when
you first start seeing them and the weather is still warm. When the weather cools off
in the higher elevations, usually from the middle of September to the middle of
October, you will start seeing the duns on the surface of the water. They hatch
during the afternoons at that time of the year.  

If we believe the books, then these mayflies discard their shucks below the surface
of the water prior to emerging to the surface and then quickly fly away. Hatches
start occurring in the late summer and early fall when the water is rather warm, so
they don't waste any time drying their wings to fly away. That is why our "Perfect
Fly" imitations of the emerger works well.

Presentation:
Our Little Yellow Quill Emerger should be fished in the surface skim  Unless the
water is really slow moving (like during the drought conditions of previous years)
and extremely clear, we suggest an up and across presentation. Otherwise, a down
stream presentation would usually be required. You will want to use a long, light
leader and tippet. If the water is very low, you may want to go to a six or seven X
tippet. It is best not to use any floatant.
























Our "Perfect Fly"
Little Yellow Quill Emerger
The nymphs tend to be a dark green color. The duns are yellow. We use a light
yellowish green for this fly, which imitates the mayfly when it is more nymph than
dun. We use a greenish yellow body for the TS fly below that imitates the mayfly
when it is more dun that nymph.
















Our "Perfect Fly"
Little Yellow Quill Emerger with Trailing Shuck



                                   

Copyright 2009 James Marsh