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Mayfly Species Paraleptophlebia adoptiva (Blue Quill)

Pictures Below
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.)

Pictures of 2 Mayfly Specimens in the Species Paraleptophlebia adoptiva:

Male Paraleptophlebia adoptiva (Blue Quill) Mayfly SpinnerMale Paraleptophlebia adoptiva (Blue Quill) Mayfly Spinner View 7 PicturesBased on the pale longitudinal forewing veins (excepting the costals), dark middle terga (Tergum: the dorsal part of an abdominal segment or segments (terga). Also used to describe the entire abdominal dorsum or the thoracic dorsal segments of Odonata.), and genitalia (Burks '53), this specimen is P. adoptiva.
Collected May 9, 2007 from Factory Brook in New York
Added to Troutnut.com by Troutnut on May 18, 2007

1 Streamside Picture of Paraleptophlebia adoptiva Mayflies:

After I took this photo, this specimen was swept out of this tiny pool into a riffle downstream, where I swooped it up with my aquarium net and brought it home to photograph.  See it up close here.  In this picture: Mayfly Species Paraleptophlebia adoptiva (Blue Quill). From Dresserville Creek in New York.
After I took this photo, this specimen was swept out of this tiny pool into a riffle downstream, where I swooped it up with my aquarium net and brought it home to photograph. See it up close here.

In this picture: Mayfly Species Paraleptophlebia adoptiva (Blue Quill).
Date TakenApr 30, 2007
Date AddedMay 3, 2007
AuthorTroutnut
CameraPENTAX Optio WPi

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