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Quill Gordons

This name primarily describes the important Eastern hatch Epeorus pleuralis. It was the first American trout stream hatch described by anglers, and it is named for the fly pattern created by 19th century fly fishing legend Theodore Gordon to imitate it.


Like most common names, "Quill Gordon" can refer to more than one taxon. They're previewed below, along with 6 specimens. For more detail click through to the scientific names.

Mayfly Species Epeorus pleuralis

These are pretty much always called Quill Gordons.
This is the first really good dry-fly opportunity of the season for most Eastern anglers. They are large mayflies and they have good points of vulnerability both underwater and on the surface.
Epeorus pleuralis (Quill Gordon) Mayfly NymphEpeorus pleuralis (Quill Gordon) Mayfly Nymph View 4 PicturesThis Epeorus pluralis dun is recently deceased in these photos. I decided not to photograph several lively, less mature nymphs. This one was ready to hatch, as indicated by the black wing pads (
The wing pads on this final instar Baetidae mayfly nymph are extremely dark.
The wing pads on this final instar Baetidae mayfly nymph are extremely dark.
Wing pad: A protrusion from the thorax of an insect nymph which holds the developing wings. Black wing pads usually indicate that the nymph is nearly ready to emerge into an adult.
)
. I believe it had not been dead long enough to lose its natural coloration.
Collected April 19, 2006 from in
Added to Troutnut.com by on April 21, 2006
Male Epeorus pleuralis (Quill Gordon) Mayfly DunMale Epeorus pleuralis (Quill Gordon) Mayfly Dun View 9 PicturesI kept this specimen after photographing it and it molted into a spinner in perfect condition, which I photographed here.
Collected April 30, 2007 from in
Added to Troutnut.com by on May 3, 2007
Male Epeorus pleuralis (Quill Gordon) Mayfly SpinnerMale Epeorus pleuralis (Quill Gordon) Mayfly Spinner View 10 PicturesI spent (Spent: The wing position of many aquatic insects when they fall on the water after mating. The wings of both sides lay flat on the water. The word may be used to describe insects with their wings in that position, as well as the position itself.) most of the day looking for Epeorus pluralis duns or spinners without any luck on the major Catskill rivers. Finally in the evening I arrived at a small stream somebody had recommended, and when I got out of the car I was happy to find that I had parked in the middle of a cloud of male spinners.
Collected April 19, 2006 from in
Added to Troutnut.com by on April 22, 2006

Mayfly Species Rhithrogena futilis

These are very rarely called Quill Gordons.
This uncommon and slightly larger species hatches earlier than Rhithrogena hageni, but otherwise is virtually indistinguishable.

Mayfly Species Epeorus longimanus

These are very rarely called Quill Gordons.
Epeorus longimanus and Epeorus albertae are the two most common Epeorus species in the West.
Epeorus longimanus (Slate Brown Dun) Mayfly NymphEpeorus longimanus (Slate Brown Dun) Mayfly Nymph View 2 Pictures
Collected June 24, 2005 from in
Added to Troutnut.com by on June 27, 2011
Female Epeorus longimanus (Slate Brown Dun) Mayfly SpinnerFemale Epeorus longimanus (Slate Brown Dun) Mayfly Spinner View 1 PicturesI associated this female with a male I collected one night later. For a great and informative discussion of all Epeorus species and other mayflies be sure and read, WESTERN MAYFLY HATCHES by R. Hafele and D. Hughes. They rate all of the western mayflies and they rate the hatch of this genus a 25 out of a possible 45 points based on several rating criterion. They provide insect photos, possible fly patterns and fly presentations. This is a great book.
Collected July 24, 2011 from in
Added to Troutnut.com by on July 25, 2011

Mayfly Species Cinygmula subaequalis

These are very rarely called Quill Gordons.
This is the only Eastern species of Cinygmula. It may produce fishable hatches in places but it is not a generally important mayfly.
Cinygmula subaequalis (Small Gordon Quill) Mayfly NymphCinygmula subaequalis (Small Gordon Quill) Mayfly Nymph View 10 PicturesThis nymph is missing a few gills, but is otherwise in good shape. It was the only one of its species which turned up in my sample.
Collected May 29, 2007 from in
Added to Troutnut.com by on June 4, 2007

Mayfly Species Rhithrogena undulata

These are very rarely called Quill Gordons.
This is one of the two most common species of Rhithrogena.
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