Insects and other foods the trout should be eating:
2. Little Winter Stoneflies
Most available/ Near hatching and other types of available food:
3. Sculpin, Minnows (Streamers)
4. Blue Quills (Nymphs)
5. Blue-winged Olives (Nymphs)
"K.I.S.S. A Bug" Series - Quill Gordon - Part 2:
The World's Ugliest Mayfly Nymph
Breaking News! I just held the World's first mayfly nymph beauty contest and the Quill Gordon
nymph took first place.
Copyright 2012 James Marsh
Those little hearts on their legs aren't tatoos. They are really little heart shaped markings but even
beautiful little hearts didn't prevent the judges of my beauty contest from selecting it for a last
Now, all my KISS students, please notice the number one clue to identifying this as a Quill Gordon
nymph is it only has two tails. But wait, that alone isn't enough! There's other species of mayfly
nymphs that only have two tails. They are few and far between but some do including members of
the Quill Gordon's family such as the Gray-winged Yellow Quills I posted a picture of yesterday.
HOWEVER, the other mayfly nymphs that exist in the Smokies that have only two tails are very,
very small nymphs. They are one of the species of Little Blue-winged Olives (Acentrella, genus in
case any entomologist are reading this) They are tiny little nymphs that are about a hook size 20.
There are some Baetis nymphs with two tails but they don't exist in the Eastern United States.
So, if you find a two tailed nymph in the streams of the Smokies, and it's not a tiny, tiny nymph, it is
a Quill Gordon nymph, which by the way, range from a hook size 12 to 14.
There's other big differences. The other two tailed nymphs are swimmers and don't have the
big gills you see in the pictures above. They are also not shaped as flat and wide. The big killer
clue is they don't have their eyes on top of their heads like the Quill Gordon nymphs (and
other clinger nymphs).
Now see, anyone can easily determine what is a Quill Gordon nymph in the Smokies and what
isn't. If it is in the Smokies, has only two tails, and has little heart shaped marking on its
legs, it's a Quill Gordon. The only other Eastern nymph with the same features is the
Gray-winged Yellow Quill and they don't exist in the Smokies.
Our Perfect Fly Imitation of the World's Ugliest Nymph:
To make sure we "match the unhatched", we came up with the ugliest mayfly nymph fly in the
World. Check this out!
You can't tie a uglier fly than the Perfect Fly Quill Gordon Nymph. It's made from a turkey biot with a
dubbed thorax (KISS students, the thorax is the large area just behind the hook's eye where the
mayflies wings are folded up). It has a piece of turkey quill on top for the wing pad casing.
We will get into fishing these ugly nymphs: Guess what? They are not located everywhere there's
water in the Smokies. In fact, they spend their life in small, rather isolated areas of the
streams of the Smokies. And Guess what else. When they hatch, they move a few feet crawling
across the bottom to slower water than they have spent almost a complete year living in. The
places they move to hatch are also small, isolated areas in the streams of the Smokies.
I'm not telling until tomorrow.
Tall Fly Fishing Tales:
By the way, I have read where some of the old timers that "have been fishing these here
waters for fifty years" say that when the Quill Gordons start hatching they don't quit, even
when the weather and water turns very cold.
Well, they have already started to hatch this year in the lowest elevations that trout exist in a few
streams in the park. Let's check this out. Go into the park today and let me know how many
Quill Gordons you find hatching?
Also if they are correct, unless you find them hatching after today and tomorrow, with a low of 16
degrees, it means the Quill Gordon hatch in the Smokies has already ended for the year.
If they are right, I'm waisting my time on Quill Gordons. I should be waiting until next year - right!
Does anyone want to bet me $10,000.00 they are right....wait, that didn't work for Romney and it
won't work for me. Does anyone want to bet a dollar against one of my ugly nymphs they are right
and the Quill Gordon hatch is over for the year? I say that's "Tall Bug Tale" They need to drink
some more moonshine.
Little Acentrella (Blue-winged Olive)nymph.
Below is about the actual size of the nymph