There is not much argument about the Blue
Quill. This hatch occurs in early April,
and in Ohio, is typically a good one. Brian
Flechsig in his book on the Mad River has
this hatch as the Paraleptophlebia
adoptiva, and when it comes to the
Latin, I'm not one to argue. What I can say
for sure is that the small pale blue dun flies
that hatch at this time are our first harbinger
of spring, as we typically don't see much in
the way of the old Iron fraudator (Epeorus
pleuralis), A.K.A. the Quill Gordon.
There are two flies that work for the Blue
Quill hatch, the Blue Dun and the Blue Quill,
wet and dry. I'm partial to the Blue Quill,
because both the wet (shown above) and dry versions have
worked well for me in past years. None other
than Ray Bergman would disagree, and here's
what he has to say about the Blue Dun and
Blue Quill in Trout:
"The prevalence of natural flies running to
gray makes a fly of this color essential. I
have never been able to decide if both the
Dun and the Quill are necessary, although I
find that I favor the Dun. There is something
about the blue-gray fur body that makes a
juicy-looking fly when wet. But others feel
that the quill body more nearly imitates
nature, and will use nothing else. You take
your choice or try both."
I tie the dry (shown below) for this hatch in a 16 or 18.
I've had some success with parachutes as well,
tied with the same materials as the dry, with
a dun turkey flats post. Another version of
the dry that has worked well for me replaces
the mallard wings with blue dun hackle tips.
The wet should be small as well, 14 or 16.
Though we're here in the "Just Old Flies"
section, these flies work beautifully for me
now. I've not had as much luck with the Blue
Dun personally, and that might be because I
don't have just the right color for the body.
There is considerable variation, pointed out
by both J. Edson Leonard and Ray Bergman, and
slight differences in the color of the dubbing
make big differences in the effectiveness of
the fly, according to both. I have had luck with
the Blue Quill, so I tend to stick with that.
I might mention the difficulties encountered
tying on the mallard wings on the dry. I've
done them a couple of ways. The first entails
tying the wings on top of the hook, tips out
over the eye, posting them up, and dividing.
This method does not work for me nearly as
well as the more old fashioned one, recently
described here on FAOL in the Tying Tips section.
The article is called
"Slip Wings, the English Method" by Allan
Blithel, and I certainly encourage you to give
this method a try. I start with the slips a bit
more upright than Allan shows. The same method
can be found in E.C. Gregg's book from 1940
How to Tie Flies. The less you
can handle the mallard wings in the tying of
the fly, the better, and that makes this method
superior in my estimation. There is no posting
up of the wings, or certainly less or it. You
can use some spray workable fixative like Tuff
Film when learning to tie these. Just LIGHTLY
mist the back of the feathers at a distance
before cutting slips off them. Once you get
the technique down, it's better to go without
the fixative I think. There is a third method,
alluded to in Trout, which is
just like the first one I mentioned except
that you start with the wings tied on top of
the hook, tips toward the tail. This has some
of the same drawbacks of the first method.
Here is the recipe for the Blue Quill, wet or dry:
Credits: Trout by Ray Bergman;
Flies by J. Edson Leonard;
Fly Fisher's Guide to the Mad River by
Brian Flechsig; http://www.trout-streams.com ~ Eric Austin