Flies Needed Now for Fishing the Smokies
Blue Quills - Part 3
Insects and other food the trout may be eating:
1. Blue-winged Olives (Baetis)
2. Blue Quills
3. Quill Gordons
4. Little Black Caddis
5. Winter Stoneflies
Blue Quill Duns:
By the time the little emerging nymphs change into a dun, they are often caught up
in a current seam. That is not always the case, of course, but usually the calmer
area they hatch in is only inches from fast water. Where ever fast water meets slow
water, or where ever water moving in one direction meets water moving in another
direction, or where ever both of these conditions occur, there is a current seam.
That is where the little Blue Quill duns are likely to be drifting.
Provided the nymphs are fully developed, these mayflies start hatching when the
water reaches about 50 degrees. That will probably be within the next week or two
depending on the weather. That is also about the same water temperature that the
trout start feeding on the surface. However, for every trout that does, there is
probably ten or twenty that don't. When this first starts to happen, you are better off
using an emerger imitation. If the water reaches that temperature and stays there
or higher for several days, the trout will begin to feed on the surface enough that
you can be successful with the dun imitation or dry fly.
The Quill Gordons will start to hatch about the same time the Blue Quills start.
When they first start to hatch, both will emerge during the warmest time of the day.
If the Blue Quills hatch in the pockets behind rocks and boulders, they will be
caught up in the same current seams as the Quill Gordon duns. Many of the Blue
Quills hatch in pockets along the banks. If they do, they will hatch close to the
nearest fast water along the bank. They may also hatch at the end of a pool
provided the water is not moving very fast.
There are a lot more of the little Blue Quills in the streams of the Smokies than Quill
Gordons. Contrary to what many think, the trout don't favor the larger Quill
Gordons over the little Blue Quills. You will rarely see the Quill Gordons hatching
when there are no Blue Quills hatching but you often will see right the reverse
The larger Quill Gordons imitations are easier to fish than the small Blue Quill
imitations. If the Quill Gordons are hatching in decent quantities, I suggest you
ignore the Blue Quills, simply because the Quill Gordon hatch is easier to fish.
These little mayflies can be easily be confused with the Baetis species of
Blue-winged Olives which are the same size. Some days, especially those nasty
weather days, both the BWOs and the Blue Quills will be hatching. Both of these
mayflies hatch in similar types of water, so that should just increase your odds of
success. I doubt there would ever be enough of either one of these mayflies for the
trout to become selective on either of them.
Copyright 2009 James Marsh
Perfect Fly "Blue Quill Dun" - Hook Size 18