Insects and other foods the trout may be eating:
1.   Blue-winged Olives
3.   Little Yellow Stoneflies
4.   Slate Drakes
5.   Cream Cahills - hatching in Isolated locations
6.   Little Yellow Quills
7.   Needle Stoneflies
8.   Beetles
9.   Grasshoppers
10. Ants
11. Crane Flies
12. Helligramite
13. Streamers - matching sculpin, baitfish and small crawfish

The Learning Process -  Part 80
I hope you have been following this series at least since October 8th, otherwise, I don't think this
article will make much sense to you.

Before I continue with the Blue Quills, I want to point out something I found out just
today regarding common names. Charles Meck, who has several books on aquatic
insects and fly fishing, has a new one I was reading called the "Pocket Guide to
Pennsylvania Hatches". All in all its a good book but as usual, Mr. Meck added
some new (at least new to me) common name to age old insects. I don't know if he
does that trying to confuse or help people. He rarely agrees with anyone else on
common names. I noticed this time he called a Blue Quill a "Spring Blue Quill". He
now calls a Mahogany Dun, a "Summer Blue Quill". His Summer Blue Quill are the
mollis and guttala species. Great, that gives us yet another name for these same
flies I wrote about just yesterday. He also prefers to call a Gray-winged Yellow Quill
a "Pink Cahill". That isn't a bad name, but just adds even more confusion,
especially since there's also a Pink Lady. An Eastern Pale Evening Dun is now a
"Big Sulphur". For the first time I know of, he finally gave what he calls "Downwings",
or caddisflies, a little attention. His book actually list a few of them and even
describes them, something he has always been very slack on in the past. Way to go
Mr. Meck. Yes, trout do eat caddisflies and the aquatic insect world doesn't revolve
around mayflies. However, he just omitted probably the most important group of
them all. Oh well, I'm sure he will hear about it and from someone other than me.
Back to our "Leaning Experience" and an our findings a few years ago.

So far, I have only revealed how we fish the Quill Gordon hatch prior to it starting,
when its underway, and how we fish the spinner fall.  I also described in detail where
we found the little Blue Quill nymphs congregated when they first started to hatch.
That also let us know why fishing a Blue Quill dun imitation in the fast water of the
runs and riffles is usually unproductive, even after the little mayflies seem to be
everywhere. The little Blue Quill nymphs are crawlers. They don't stay in the fast
water runs and riffles. They live in the slower flowing water in the stream. Although
they are crawlers, they can swim very well. When the nymphs are ready to hatch,
they move in even slower water. Most of the time they will congregate in pockets
and areas along the banks where the water is trapped into pockets of slow moving
water. They also congregate in the tail ends of pools, provide the water is moving
slowly and it is shallow. These mayflies will hatch in water six inches deep and less.

What we found out is that even after we obtained some Blue Quill flies that were the
right size 18 flies, we caught very few trout fishing them in the fast water of the runs
and riffles. Those we did catch seem to come from the very tail ends of the runs
and riffles. Once we discovered where the nymphs (with dark wing pads about to
open) were located in the streams, we begin to fish the shallow water along the
edges of the banks and in pools behind rocks and boulders. The problem became
being able to do that without spooking the trout. Making longer cast with lighter
leaders and tippets isn't exactly easy in the tree covered streams of the Smokies. It
became a presentation problem. Also, often when we got the flies, nymphs or duns,
in the right place in the stream, the current would grab our line and jerk the fly
around in the calmer, slower moving water. In other words, we discovered where the
nymphs exist in the stream, but we found that imitating them wasn't easy. We either
had a presentation problem, or we got too close to the water and spooked the trout
feeding on them. We also discovered, the trout usually dart in from deeper water,
grab an emerging nymph, and then dart back out.

Fishing both the Quill Gordon and the Blue Quill hatches each year since then, we
have learned a lot of tricks or techniques for getting the flies in the right places. We
have also learned that we could catch more trout from the Blue Quill hatch than we
could from the Quill Gordon hatch, but that is more to do with the length of the
hatches. The Blue Quill hatch is around almost twice the length of time the Quill
Gordons hatch exist.

The essence of what we learned is detailed in these articles I have written for our
Perfect Fly website. There is no sense in my repeating the same thing here.

Quill Gordons:
The Hatch

Blue Quills:

Copyright 2009 James Marsh