Hatches Made Easy:

Little Yellow Quills (Heptagenia Group) - Duns and Spinners


The Little Yellow Quill Duns are easy to find during the day but you never seem
to find them on the water. As I said in the last article, I believe they hatch either
early in the mornings or during the night. They are beautiful yellow mayflies that
look somewhat like Light Cahills.
We have caught trout on an imitation of the dun but I am not sure whether the
trout took the fly for a spinner attempting to deposit her eggs or a dun that just
hatched. The spinners fly just over the water and sometimes lite on the water for
a short time when they are depositing their eggs. I tend to think that is the
behavior we were imitating when we have caught fish on a dun pattern.   

The few times we have used the dun pattern, we cast it up and up and across in
the riffles. Although we caught a few trout doing this, we do not recommend
fishing a dun pattern.

You will not have any problem spotting the Little Yellow Quill spinners. They
show up in the mid-afternoon and stay around until dark unless they are eaten
by a trout. They appear out of the bushes and trees along the bank and deposit
their eggs in the small runs and riffles.
Most of the time we have fished the spinner fall of the Little Yellow Quills it was
during the late afternoon in the high elevation streams in the Great Smoky
Mountains National Park. That was not because it was the only place the spinner
fall occurred. It was due to the fact that during the late summer and early fall
months, that is usually the only place the water temperature is not bordering on
being too warm for trout. You can find the Little Yellow Quill spinners on any fast
water stream in the park.

Since most of our fishing occurred in the small streams at mid to high elevations,
most of our cast were very short. In some of the small streams, you will need to
cast the spinner imitation any way you can to get it into the small runs and riffles.
Sometimes this is casting downstream from your knees or side-armed under a
rhododendron bush.  
The trout, brooks and rainbows, will a take the spent winged imitations of the
LIttle Yellow Quills on almost every cast if you don't spook them before you
manage to get the fly in the right place. Even though attractor imitations usually
work fine in the small streams, you will find that the Little Yellow Quill spinner
imitations will work much better if these beautiful mayflies are depositing their
This is an excellent method of fishing for the late summer and the early autumn
months of the year. It is not uncommon for one to be able to catch a lot of trout
in a short time.

Coming Up Next:
Little Yellow Quills - (Heptagenia group) - Fly Pattern Colors

Copyright 2008 James Marsh