The calendar has turned to March, and right on schedule the quill gordon mayflies have started hatching. I’ve seen blue quills, early brown stoneflies, and little black stoneflies for the past week and a half or so, but the quill gordons had eluded me, until yesterday that is. For now the hatch is just getting started. As anyone who has fished this hatch should know, it seems to come and go before you really get serious about fishing it. We probably have two to three weeks upcoming now when it should be prime, maybe even a month or so, but certainly not more than that. The best thing about the bugs yesterday? I caught fish on dry flies.
The hatch started a bit late, probably because of the clouds and rain showers early in the day. When it finally got going, the hatch was helped along with a few bursts of sunlight from an otherwise cloudy sky. Fish seemed to show a definite preference for the quill gordons although they were also taking a few of the blue quills when the opportunity presented itself. I even noticed one quality brown of 16-18 inches rise once. Unfortunately it never even looked at my flies, at least not that I could tell.
Before we know it, the whole river will have hatching bugs. For now, stick with the traditional early season pools but be ready to move around until you find bugs and fish. I say and because some people have reported plenty of bugs but no risers. If you encounter this on the water, try fishing a wet fly imitation of the prevailing hatch dead drifted near the bottom like a nymph. Use split shot and a strike indicator if necessary. If you are lucky, you’ll find bugs and beautiful trout.