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Mayfly Species Neoleptophlebia adoptiva (Blue Quill)

This is the best Spring hatch after the Quill Gordons (Epeorus pleuralis) but before the Hendricksons (Ephemerella subvaria) in most parts of the East, although it can overlap with both. The Blue Quills are small mayflies (hook size 16-20) but they can hatch in incredible numbers at a time when eager trout are just beginning to look to the surface after a hungry winter.  

Where & When


Regions: East, Midwest

Time Of Year (?): April through early June

The hatch begins in early April in the southern Appalachians. By late April or early May it is in Pennsylvania, and it peaks in the Catskills in early May. By late May it has moved into the Upper Midwest and the Adirondacks, where it may linger through early June. The peak hatching lasts nearly a week in most places.

One source, Mayflies of Michigan Trout Streams, says the hatch may last until July 8th, but I have found no other accounts of such late adoptiva hatches.

Hatching Behavior


Time Of Day (?): Late morning through afternoon, peaking at midday

Water Temperature: 50�F
Caucci and Nastasi in Hatches II say that trout feed exceptionally well on these nymphs during the hatch, and they recommend fishing nymph imitations (both deep and floating) with an upstream dead-drift (Dead-drift: The manner in which a fly drifts on the water when not moving by itself or by the influence of a line. Trout often prefer dead-drifting prey and imitating the dead-drift in tricky currents is a major challenge of fly fishing.). However, the duns should not be ignored, because they may ride the surface for a long time before flying away.

The hatch can be strongest on cold, dark, even snowy days.

Spinner Behavior


Time Of Day: Midday

Habitat: Riffles
The females oviposit by repeatedly diving and dipping the tips of their abdomens into the water.

The first spinners appear a few days after the first duns, and they may persist for up to a week after the duns are done emerging.

Nymph Biology


Current Speed: Medium is best; slow is good; slow microhabitat in fast stretches are okay

Substrate: Gravel, detritus (Detritus: Small, loose pieces of decaying organic matter underwater.)


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