View Full Version : Nearly skunked

03-25-2010, 09:40 AM
Well, folks, I escaped from work early and went fishing yesterday afternoon. It was a beautiful day, and I expected some good action. In the end, I only caught two rainbows, one of which was quite small. I'd like to get some feedback from you guys about what I saw...

There was definitely a massive hatch going on. There were a million smallish grey flies on the water, and I was getting a few rises from itty bitty trout on a quill gordon. I was fishing a BHPT dropper, which is what I caught my two fish on. Water temp was 51 degrees. Since I wasn't having any luck w/ my dry fly, I set up a double nymph rig (BHPT and prince nymph) w/ a strike indicator. My buddy was fishing a hares ear and then tried another small nymph I didn't recognize.

It seemed like conditions were really good, but we could not see any trout rising to feed on the bugs. I did see several large trout in a shallow run over a gravel bar that were obviously feeding on submerged insects, so I know they were eating. Any ideas what was going on?

David Knapp
03-25-2010, 10:09 AM
Sounds like Blue Quills were probably hatching. They are smaller than the Quill Gordons so you'll want a #18 instead of a #12 dry. Blue Quills tend to hatch in slower water so you'll want to look for trout feeding in the middle to back of slower pools and outside the main current near seams. Here is a link (http://www.troutnut.com/hatch/51/Mayfly-Paraleptophlebia-adoptiva-Blue-Quill) to a good page about these bugs. It recommends fishing a nymph as the trout tend to key on them during this hatch...

03-25-2010, 10:48 AM
That's exactly what was hatching, and the trout were definitely feeding on the nymphs. I stood and watched a group of trout actively feeding on the nymphs but totally ignoring the flies on the surface.

That's funny that you recommend an 18 instead of a 12. That was my initial plan, but LRO steered me towards using the larger fly... I'll be up at campsite 30 this weekend, and I'll probably take along some gear and give it another go.

What nymph is used to imitate the blue quills?

03-25-2010, 04:36 PM
We will be headed to 30 on tues/wed next week so leave a note in the dirt of what to use.

old east tn boy
03-25-2010, 09:00 PM
Fished the middle prong of Little River yesterday from 1 to 6 pm, and found it really slow going. Saw very few Quill Gordons and hardly any fish rising. I did manage four or five Rainbows, nothing large, all caught on a size 16 BH Prince dropper off of a #14 Quill Gordon dry except one; first and largest Rainbow nailed the Quill. Interesting too that I saw no one else fishing all day.

03-25-2010, 09:17 PM
My experience has been that the Blue Quills start hatching earlier, last longer, and are more numerous than the Gordons. If you see fish actively rising, I would recommend a BQ pattern. Fact is, during any mayfly hatch you can fish an unweighted nymph and pick up fish just as many, but it's just not as fun. When I see fish pick off duns, that's what I aim for, foolish though it may be. I like the cut wing thorax style with the split tails for my mayfly duns, originated my Marinaro. Flyfishers Paradise has them, if you don't tie. (www.flyfishersparadise.com, but you'll need to order the catalog.) They're in PA, but these bugs are universal throughout the Appalachian chain.

03-26-2010, 09:36 AM
We will be headed to 30 on tues/wed next week so leave a note in the dirt of what to use.

Will do buddy!

So I'm still curious about a good imitation for the blue quill nymph... I almost always fall back on one of 4 nyphms in the Park (w/ or w/out a beadhead): pheasant tail, prince, tellico, or hares ear (not including terrestrials and worms). Is a prince nymph in a small size gonna imitate the blue quills before they emerge?

03-26-2010, 10:08 AM

This is what I use for a blue quill nymph...I think it might acutally be called a blue quill.

03-26-2010, 10:41 AM
Looks pretty spot on...


That fly does look fairly similar to a hair's ear, don't you think?