Methods & Strategies to Use "Now" Fishing the Smokies

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
6. Midges
7. Streamers

Quill Gordon - Emerging Nymphs - Part 2
Note: Make sure you have read the previous article and understand how and where these
mayflies hatch before preceding.

Trout eat far more of the emerging Quill Gordon nymphs than the duns or spinners.
The reason is simple. It is much easier for them to do so. The emerging nymphs are
concentrated in small areas, well exposed for a lengthly amount of time, and unable
to escape. Up until the time they begin to hatch, they stay well hidden down
between and under rocks on the bottom of the fast water runs and riffles. When it is
time for them to hatch they move to areas of slower moving water that is close to
their fast water habitat.

Since they don't hatch on the surface of the water like most mayflies, we didn't
develop "Perfect Fly" emerger imitations that float in the surface skim. Instead we
developed a wet fly imitation of the emerging dun. We call this fly an "Emerging
Adult". It imitates the insect after the trailing shuck has come off and the wings have
popped out. This transformation starts taking place on the bottom and the nymph
completes its change to a dun while it is still on the bottom or somewhere between
the bottom and the surface of the water.

The thorax of the Emerging Adult is dubbed. Soft hackle is used for the tail and
legs. Like all of our non-drake mayflies, this one has a goose or turkey biot for its
abdomen. The back of the abdomen is covered with deer hair which is secured to
the biot with fine wire. The reason the deer hair is added is to increase the
buoyancy of the fly. It is designed to be fished with an added small amount of split
shot type weight placed on the tippet a few inches above the fly. This allows the fly
to float above the weight. When the weight is on the bottom, the fly is suspended
just above the bottom. During the drift, the fly can be brought all the way to the
surface of the current seams, imitating the newly hatched dun accenting to the
surface to dry its wings.  Trout take the fly anywhere from the bottom to the surface.

You want to start fishing this fly when you first start seeing duns come off the water
during the earliest part of the hatch. Progress in an upstream direction just like you
would fishing a dry fly. Use an upstream or slightly up and across presentation. Do
not fish the fly directly in the fast water runs and riffles. Fish it on the slow side of
the current seams formed by pockets behind rocks and boulders. You want the fly
to start out in the slow water and come down the current seams formed by the fast
water on each side of the pockets. Some pockets may exist against the banks of
the stream. Be sure to fish those too, bringing the fly out of the slow moving water
in the pocket, into the current seams along the edges of the pockets. Allow the fly
to reach the bottom on the cast but slowly bring it back to the surface during the
drift. When it reaches the surface for a few seconds at the end of the drift, make
another cast.

In large pockets, you may want to make several cast to cover all the slower moving
water in the pocket. In smaller pockets, you only need to bring the fly down each of
the two current seams. You can use a small strike indicator if you must. We prefer
to fish it without one. It is fairly easy to detect the takes by watching the end of your
fly line and leader for odd movements. The line will either stop or move unnaturally
with the current. You can also feel some of the takes through the rod.

Use a fairly short leader, not over nine feet long including the tippet. You want to
get as close to the pockets as you can get without spooking or alerting the trout of
your presence. If the pocket is behind a large boulder, slip up behind it using it as
cover like the Lone Ranger and Tonto. Just make sure you don't wear a white hat. If
you are under forty years of age, you will probably need to google that name.

If you are fishing shallow riffles, you will need to make longer cast to keep from
spooking the trout. I don't know anyone that likes fishing a wet fly better than a dry
fly. Wet fly presentation isn't the easiest method to use. It takes a lot of
concentration and well placed cast. However, especially during the early part of the
Quill Gordon hatch, or anytime the water is very cold (hanging around 50 degrees
or under) the dry fly may not be very effective. You will usually catch far more trout
using the wet fly. The trout may not feed very aggressively on the surface. When
they do, and they will, we change to an imitation of the dun (a dry fly). I will get into
that tomorrow.

Copyright 2009 James Marsh
"Perfect Fly" Quill Gordon Emerging Adult