Yellow Quill - Nymph
The Yellow Quill is the Epeorus albertae which is also called the Pink Lady and
sometimes the Slate Cream Dun. I call it the Quill Gordon of the West. It is a
clinger mayfly that is fairly common in Western streams. Depending on the
stream and its elevation, these mayflies can hatch from the last of June until the
first couple of weeks in September. Being a clinger nymph, they are better suited
to fast moving water with plenty of oxygen.
Many of the hatches we have noticed were not heavy; however, most of them
took place when few other mayflies were hatching. That could make them very
important to imitate. There are also streams that have very heavy hatches. The
famous Madison River to name one.
The nymphs of this mayfly are fairly easy to identify. They only have two tails. If
you find a two tail clinger nymph, most likely it is an albertae. There is another
similar but less plentiful mayfly, the Epeorus longimunus or Slate Dun that could
be confused with the albertae. Just to be technically correct, there is another
similar genus that only have two tails called the Ironodes. It too is far less plentiful.
When the nymphs are ready to hatch they will move from their normal fast, riffle
type of water to nearby water that is slower moving such as pockets behind
boulders and pockets along the banks. This movement is often only a yard or
two, not a hundred yards.
Like most clinger nymphs, these stay hidden down under and between the rocks
on the bottom of fast moving water. They are really not very available to trout.
They can be caught up in the currents and eaten by trout but as far as we are
concerned, the only time a nymph imitation is effective, is just prior to the hatch.
We fish the nymph imitation in an upstream or slightly up and across direction in
the fast pocket water or riffles where they are found. Concentrate on fishing the
edges of the slow water behind boulders and pockets along the banks where
they move to hatch. Keep the nymph right on the bottom using plenty of weight.
Copyright 2013 James Marsh
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