08/29/10
Insects and other foods the trout may be eating:
1.    Blue-winged Olives (See Below)
2.    Mahogany Duns
3.    Little Yellow Stoneflies - Summer Stones
4.    Slate Drakes
5.    Needle Stoneflies
6.    Little Yellow Quills
7.    Ants
8.    Inchworms
9.    Beetles
10.  Grasshoppers
11.  Hellgrammite
12.  Craneflies
13.  Sculpin, baitfish and small crayfish (Imitate with streamers)


Mahogany Dun
When I wrote about the Needle Stoneflies, i mentioned that they were the most
overlooked aquatic insect in the park. I am not certain that was correct because the
Mahogany Dun probably is. It's certainly one of the most overlooked mayflies. Now
that I just wrote that, I'm not sure that was correct either. The Little Yellow Quill
probably is the most overlooked mayfly because it wasn't even listed as existing in
the park until I identified it. In fact, I have never heard an angler mention it as
existing in the park. I have never read anything about it existing in Great Smoky
Mountains National Park, yet they hatch in large numbers over a long period of
time. The Little Yellow Quill has always been confused with something else,
probably a Light Cahill. It does hatch when few other insects are hatching. I guess
that shows just how much is know about the aquatic insects in the park and the
Southeast in general. The bottom line is anglers know very little largely because
what information there is on the subject is lacking in all respects.

The Mahogany Dun common name is also confused by many local anglers. Some
call a Slate Drake a Mahogany Dun. Often, this same mayfly is called a Blue Quill in
the West. In some places in the West it's called a Mahogany Dun and other places
a Blue Quill. It's very similar to the Blue Quill that hatches in the Smokies in late
February through the first of April. In fact, Mahogany Duns are in the same genus
as the Blue Quills. That means they are closely related. That is why they are called
both common names. The Blue Quill is the
Paraleptophlebia adoptiva species. The
Mahogany Duns are the
Paraleptophlebia mollis, debilis, bicornuta, and about 30
other species. I know two of these exist in the Smokies, mainly the
mollis, but there
are probably others. They are almost identical and impossible to identify with the
naked eye. It's also completely unimportant.
Most books call them all Blue
Quills.
Locally, I prefer Mahogany Duns to keep from confusing them with the Blue
Quills.

In the late Winter or early Spring, the Blue Quills are considered very important to
Smoky Mountain anglers. In the late Summer and early Fall, the Mahogany Duns
are rarely mentioned by anyone. It isn't because they are not very plentiful because
they are. It isn't because the trout don't eat lots of them because they do.




























I am showing this frame taken from our
Fly Fishing DVD on Mayflies. The Mahogany
Dun nymph is almost identical to the Blue Quill nymph. Both are very easy to
identify. Both are a hook size 18. If you look closely, the gills of the nymph are
unlike most any other mayfly. They are straight and almost hair-like. They are
forked on the ends but you can't see that in this picture. Most mayfly gills are flat.
These aren't. They are round and slim.

These mayflies started hatching very recently and will continue on into the first of
October depending on the elevation and weather. They hatch in the mornings
about 9:00 to 11:00 AM and the spinners fall late in the afternoon. You can catch
trout when they are emerging and when the spinners are falling. You can catch
trout on imitations of the little nymphs all day long.  I will get into how you fish the
Mahogany Dun hatch tomorrow.

Copyright 2010 James Marsh