Archive for July 1st, 2010

01
Jul
10

Fly Fishing: Yellow Quill Mayfly Emerger

Recently, I was fishing a beautiful stretch of water in Oregon. I had worked my way down to where the riffles converged with perfect seams, edges and rolling riffles. Fish were caught and the afternoon was winding down well. As I stood knee deep next to a twenty yard long riffle, my attention was drawn to mayflies hovering six inches to a foot above the riffles. They were bright yellow, about 1/2″+ long in the body. There were also two long tails, well beyond the length of the body. The mayflies were emerging out of the riffles; just appearing and hovering. There was no surface activity, although I could see some trout slashing beneath the surface next to the riffle. I had some success with a smaller tan emerger pattern. Also, I ran a dark nymph down through the riffle and caught a couple of trout.

So, I left the river wondering what that mayfly was. I am not adept at identifying all the mayflies beyond a few common, prolific ones. So, I queried Westfly and Troutnut and there seemed to be some likelihood the mayflies I saw (given the size, color, hatching location, actions) might be a ‘Yellow Quill’ or a mayfly from the genus Epeorus. The pictures and descriptors really seemed to match my observations. What stood out was the advice that this insect is best presented by a subsurface pattern, an emerger pattern that depicts an emerging mayfly well below the surface, unfolding and rising….trying to escape the current and ultimately the surface film.

A little query here and there lead to UK Fly Dressing, which had a nice discussion on the ‘yellow may spider’…a wet fly presented for a bright yellow mayfly. Within the forum discussion, the renowned Hans Weilenmann of Danica fame, provided additional information for a yellow wet fly pattern and a wonderful tutorial. Beautiful patterns and visuals for sure.

Mindful of the riffle I had observed (depth and velocity) I thought I might concoct a little pattern that would suggest the color, emerging wings and sink to the needed depth. So, I came up with a pattern I am most excited to try. I suspect it will work for other insects as well.


Pattern Information:

Black 8/0 thread; Size 12 TMC 3761 Nymph hook; gold bead, yellow Nature’s Spirit Peacock stick; trailing tail is Fly Tying Specialties Hare & Ice Dubbing (Tan); underwing two CDC feathers; hackle two turns of brown hen hackle.




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