Hatches Made Easy:
Quill Gordon - Spinners
Spinners congregate and mate high above the fast water of ripples and runs.
You may not notice them unless you are looking up towards the sky. The males
fall spent first and are joined by the females after their eggs have ripened and
have been deposited in the water. Not all the males will fall in the water. Many will
fall on the banks but most of the females will fall on the water.
The spinner fall usually occurs in the late afternoon but is certainly possible for it
to start much sooner, especially when the skies are overcast or cloudy. Some
days this may occur only a short time after the hatch ends. I have even seen the
spinner fall occurring before the hatch ended but this is unusual.
By the way, it is not easy to see the trout taking the spinners, fake or the real
ones. They don't crash them. They just sip them. This leaves only a small ripple
on the surface. If the water is fairly rough or fast, you may never notice them.
The spinners are also difficult to see on the water, especially in the low light
conditions they normally fall under.
The current will catch these spent spinners and move them into the current
seams. The trout will position themselves downstream along the current seams.
The spinners will be mixed right in with the bubbles.
By the way, although this is out of place, note that the tails of the male spinners
are very, very long. All spinner tails and front legs are long, but the male Quill
Gordon are extremely long.
At times, trout can be taken on imitations of the upright wing female spinners
dipping to the water to deposit their eggs. Although the spinners looks different
from the duns, you can probably get by using the dun imitation for this. These
imitations should be presented in the faster water of ripples and runs. Where the
spinners fall, the water is rough and fast and the trout are not going to get a
good look at your fly. The presentation for the upright wing spinner depositing
her eggs should be the same as if you were fishing any other dry fly except that
It should only be presented in the riffles and runs where the spinner falls occur.
Spent spinner imitations are another thing. They usually work if they are
presented below the ripples and runs in the slower moving water of pockets,
calmer water edges along the banks, eddies and anywhere the current tends to
congregate the spinners. The fly should be more imitative of the real spent
spinner in this case. The trout can examine the spinners as much as they want
too. They get eaten in the slower moving, smoother and calmer water.
The up and across presentation usually works best for the spinners. Make sure
it drifts drag-free. Mend the line if you need too. In some cases you may need to
use a down and across cast. If so, you should make a longer cast than normal. I
suggest this only when you observe trout taking the spinners downstream of
your position or when that is the only way to present the fly to a given area. It is
more difficult to keep the fly drifting drag free and the trout from spotting you.
Another suggestion is to use a longer than normal leader for the Smokies, say
10 feet long and a longer, lighter tippet, say 6 X.
Coming Up Next:
Quill Gordon Fly Pattern Colors
Copyright 2008 James Marsh
Quill Gordon Spinner:
Note Clear Wings