Insects and other foods the trout may be eating:
1.   Blue-winged Olives
2.   Little Black Winter Stoneflies
3.   Streamers - matching sculpin, baitfish and small crayfish
4.   Midges

Basics of Fly Fishing - Trout Food Series - Mayflies - Part 23

If you have been following along, I'm sure you are aware that we are at the most
popular stage of life of the Quill Gordon mayfly (Dun) for today's article. Few
anglers look at it as a stage of life. Many of them think it is the one and only Quill
Gordon because that is also the only fly that they ever fish during a hatch. That is a
huge mistake for those that want to catch trout consistently. There are some days
when dry fly imitations of the dun works just great but there are days when it doesn't
work at all. As I have mentioned in the past several articles, a few days prior to the
hatch trout can be taken on imitations of the nymphs and also, when they first start
to hatch, they can be taken on a wet fly when they refuse to take a dry fly from the
surface. As you will learn, they also can be taken on imitations of the spinners well
after the hatch has ended. Today, we are dealing with the dun stage of life which is
imitated with a dry fly.

The old original Quill Gordon was a fly intended to imitate this insect that was tied
Catskill style (vertical hackle) using quill for the body. A quill makes a segmented
body that matches the duns fairly well. The quill fly was named after Theodore
Gordon, as mentioned before. There is nothing pretty, or fancy I guess I should
say, about a Quill Gordon Dun. It has a mahogany body with dark drab wings as is
often called a Mahogany Dun, adding to the confusion of common names.

"Perfect Fly" Quill Gordon Dun uses a goose or turkey biot for the body,
dubbed thorax, parachute style rooster hackle, split microfibbet tails, and two split,
hen feathers for wings. If you try to tie this fly, you will quickly see why they are
priced a little higher than the normal flies you find in most fly shops that are mostly
all tied in Asia, usually Thailand.

These mayflies will usually start to hatch about the warmest part of the day. This is
usually from 1:00 to 3:00 PM. The hatch last from thirty minutes up to an hour and a
half. When the trout are taking the Quill Gordon duns from the surface during the
hatch, catching them is a matter of fishing the current seams in the riffles and runs.
They take them from the surface the best when the water temperatures have risen
above 50 degrees, or at least stayed that high for a day or two. It is the consistency
of the temperature that counts. To make it simple, the trout take a little time to
adjust to the changes.

Often, when they start to hatch the water will drop back down to as low as 45 or so,
and the nymphs that were in the process of hatching, or splitting their wing pads,
will continue to hatch for a day or two, even though the water gets cold again. You
will find the surface action drops considerably. If it stays warm for a few days, and
reaches the mid fifties, the hatch will take place in a shorter period of time and will
be more intense. It will move upstream about 300 to 600 feet in elevation a day.
Also, remember they don't hatch in all parts of the stream, even where the water
often appears to be ideal for them. I do not know why, but they seem to hatch in
random spots along a stream. You need to keep looking and moving until you find
them, but you only have a short time interval to do that. Knowing the places on a
streams where they hatch each year is a big advantage.

Copyright 2010 James Marsh