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April-May 2024 Issue: The Lede...

When the Quills Come

The “gentleman” hatches of springtime.

Fly Fisherman April-May 2024 Issue
Quill Gordons (Epeorus pleuralis) begin hatching in April just as the Little Blue Quill hatch starts to wane. For a period of time, both Quill Gordon and Little Blue Quill mayflies will be on the water at the same time, and you may see duns and spinners o

We have a friend, Phil, who only fishes dry flies. It doesn’t matter to Phil if he catches a fish or not, he simply likes to stay on top. Mention a favorite nymph pattern and he’s likely to give you a hard stare and heaven forbid you show him a Squirmy Wormie or a Mop Fly, he will dish out a verbal lesson (more of a rant) about fishing the dark side.

Phil is lucky enough to live in a beautiful streamside cabin on an eastern Pennsylvania freestone trout stream, so when the trout are rising, he’s living the dream. When they’re not rising he still strings up his favorite bamboo fly rod, ties on a Crackleback, his favorite attractor fly, and takes his rod for a walk. Phil is a retired three-leaf U.S. Navy admiral and is living everyone’s dream retirement. He has the luxury of being there when it’s happening. And if it’s not happening? Well, there’s always tomorrow.

Pennsylvania winters can be cold, and dry-fly fishing at that time is sparse. If you are lucky, there may be enough adult Little Black Stoneflies to bring a fish to the surface on a warm afternoon, but that’s like winning the lottery. So Phil bides his time, takes his rod for walks, and dreams about springtime and the quills. The quills are Little Blue Quills and Quill Gordons, the first major mayfly hatches to usher in our spring trout season.  

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More Inside This Issue:

Descent: Fly Fishing the Plunge Pools of Yosemite Falls

Each year, about 4 million people visit Yosemite National Park. Almost all of them stop to view Yosemite Falls, which at 2,425 feet lays claim to being the tallest waterfall in the United States. That title is, however, sometimes disputed as the water doe

Tactical Trout Spey

In recent years light, strong, and responsive graphite rods have dramatically advanced the art of Spey fishing. Compact two-handed rods less than 12 feet long with 2-, 3-, or 4-weight fly lines are a joy to cast and fish, and provide another effective option for covering your favorite trout waters. This new tackle–and a lot of experimentation–has moved Spey techniques from the world of salmon and steelhead into the realm of trout fishing on streams and rivers of all sizes.

Where Hominy Stands

This is a story of a trophy wild trout fishery edged to the brink of extinction, but resilient enough to revive itself. It is a story of people's connection to a watershed, the peaks and valleys of environmental impacts, and one of hope. It is a follow-up to a sad story written almost 20 years ago in this same magazine, describing the potential demise of a fishery known as Hominy Creek. This is where Hominy stands.

Chasing Chainmail: Gar on Fly Tackle

It was Genna's first time fishing for longnose gars and it turned out to be a memorable one. She spent her first fly-fishing year targeting trout in Montana and Colorado, and some bonefish in Belize, but the long winter had her longing for some warmer weather and new challenges. After flying from Colorado to Alabama, her goal—with me as her guide—was to catch some Alabama spotted bass, freshwater drum, and then target some of the river's toothier inhabitants, notably longnose gars.

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