Autumn On The EB

Autumn On The EB
Fly Fishing The Millers - With over 30 years of fly fishing this river I will claim more knowledge and fish caught than anyone. There are over 40 miles of river and I will take you to the best sections and if you want to sections that never see another angler. Don't be fooled by those who say the Millers is a Spring and Fall river. I'll show you how to have great Summer action. The "EB of the Westfield" - Wild and beautiful is the only way to describe this river. There's a lot of water here but I know where to go to catch trout. After a trip you will too!! Solitude and trout IS the EB. The Swift - 20 trout days are not uncommon on this river if you know what to do and use. I'll show the way and you catch the trout. RATES - Full Day (6 hours) = $150.00 for one, $225 for two (lunch included). Half Day (three hours) $90.00 for one, $155.00 for two. Beginners Class - 3 hours ffor $90.00, all use of rods lines, reels included.

Saturday, January 9, 2016

Important Mayflies - The Quill Gordon

"The fishing was good. It was the catching that was bad" A.K. Best

(Photo from Hatch Guide for New England Streams by Thomas Ames, Jr.)

Bill said it best yesterday on the Swift: "It's the slow time of year." It's the time of year where I start to organize, reorganize, create new flies and toss others out. It's also the time where I begin to think of Spring and the start of the REAL dry fly season. I said REAL because I'm not talking about tossing micro-flies or rubber legged space insects but fishing over that steady parade of MAYFLIES that start in April and then continue through the season. Just the hint that Hendricksons are hatching will make a dry fly man's legs go weak. Count the Sulphurs and the BWO's in that mix and you are hooked.

This year I'll highlight some of the important insects that I find on my favorite rivers with some personal notes.

Quill Gordon - It was early May last year on the EB when a fellow fly fisher looked up to the sky and said "look at all the hendricksons!!"The sky was certainly full of mayflies grouping up for their spinner stage but they were not hendricksons. They were Quill Gordons which are often mistaken for the other insect because their hatching times overlap. The QG is also a bit smaller and a bit darker than it's more famous cousin but the real way to tell them apart is the fact that the QG has only TWO TAILS while the hendrickson has three!

The Gordon also has a strange habit of NOT rising to the surface to shed it's nymph skin like most other mayflies but hatches on the bottom of the stream and swims to the surface with it's fully developed wings trailing behind them. This stage is imitated very well with soft hackles with an olive/brown body color especially if tied with gray hen hackle to match the wing color of the insect. Traditional wet flies like the lead wing coachman work too. Cast up and across the stream mending your line as it swings downstream. When the fly is below you raise the rod and then lower it quickly. That will bring the fly UP and followed by a drop to lower levels of the stream. Then it will rise again before the next cast. This is the Leisenring Lift and it mimics the hatching antics of the insect.

This bug loves riffles. Find the riffles and you will find Quill Gordons.

The newly hatched insect seems to take it's time getting off the water. This may be the result of having to dry off it's wings after it's swim to the surface or the fact that it's still early Spring and it's still fairly cool. In any event they are sitting ducks for any trout that wants them.

I use one fly to represent Gordons and hendricksons and that's a brownish olive comparadun with deer hair that colored gray. It may be sacrilege to some but I have no use for the classic Quill Gordon fly. It's pretty but....



Parachute Adams said...

Great picture in that book of the quill gordon. It sure makes a good case for going with no hackle dry flies, or if tying a hackle in to keep it sparce.

Mike C said...

Thanks for the write-up on the Quill Gordon. One area I want to do more of in my fly fishing is is getting a feel for the classic mayfly hatches. Honestly I never seem to be on the river at the right time. After reading your post I picked up my copy of Thomas Ames Jr's book and read the section on the Quill Gordon. The closest river to my home is the Qunnipoxet. I can think of a few riffly sections that might be worth targeting. Is it typical to find fish taking flies on top or is the subsurface approach more successful.

I like the simplicity of your flies as a beginning tier they are easy to master and I feel confident they can get me some fish.

I looked forward to more posts on the season long stretch of mayflies.


Millers River Flyfisher said...


The Quinnie should be classic Mayfly water. Quill Gordons and Hendricksons like to hatch at mid day and usually when the water temperature hits 50 degrees.


Anonymous said...

Hello all, just wanted to add a few notes and talk about the squanny. I have found that Hendrickson and QG hatches are my favorite to fish. If you visit the squanny in early spring (before stocking)you may see the holdovers giving away their lies to take a fluttering QG and the fishing is good through May as the Hendricksons start to come off. I have found that traditional Catskill style duns are the least affective. A claret SH will imitate emerging Hendricksons very well and for the Quills I use a SH with a pheasant tail abdomen and gray dubbed thorax. This spring I Also did well with a dry emerger tied in the style of a mole fly, I used poly yarn for shuck and wing and gray dubbing with French tinsel for ribbing I would imagine this style would match most hatching mayflies just adjust for color and size
Paul Fay

Millers River Flyfisher said...


Excellent comment!! Just three months to go!


Gary Cranson said...


Great stuff,the farther you get away from the gorge on the EB the more you get into phase 3 and the Leisenring Lift is an important technique to know.

Thanks so much Gary

Millers River Flyfisher said...


Can't wait to get below that gate this May!!!


Anonymous said...

The Quinnie has some great Mayfly hatches. Hendricksons can be seen in large numbers in May, but I have also seen Quill Gordons. When the water gets a little warmer there are also great hatches of small Sulphurs. Not mayflies, but caddis flies are also usual suspects there.

Mike C said...

Thanks for the tip Anonymous. I hope to get out there specifically for hatches this year.