The quill gordon is one of the earliest mayfly hatches each season. It is among the most famous, in part because of its fairly large size, 12 to 14, but in larger part because it announces the beginning of the dry fly fishing season. Emergence starts in late April or early May on most eastern and mid-western trout streams, and continues on a rigid schedule for a week or more. Daily hatches start just after noon, and last an hour or so. The nymphs live only in clean, unpoluted streams, and prefer riffled sections. They migrate to slower currents before the duns emerge. Duns leave the nymphal shuck behind on or near the bottom. Many fail to make it to the surface. A wet fly to imitate the emerger is more important than a nymph dressing. Duns boat the currents before their wings dry, and they can fly. The floating Quill Gordon is the most famous fly to match the hatch. Like many other mayfly species, the Quill Gordon's turn into red quill spinners, and can be matched with a suitable spent dressing that should already be in your boxes at all times. After hatches of tiny midges and Blue winged olives the March Browns are normally the first large mayflies of the year. They always seem to hatch in cold rainy afternoons. The Autumn Dun (Ecdyonurus dispar) is often confused for the March brown insect as the two are of similar size and appearance. WET FLIES A wet fly is designed to be fished below the water's surface. They are tied as deceivers or attractors. The success of the wet fly often depends far more on its action in the water than on its resemblance to a particular insect, but this is not always the case. When fish are on the feed the actual pattern is generally not important, but when the fish are preoccupied or need tempting the angler must use ingenuity to discover what the fish are feeding on and what color they are taking. When fishing wet flies, it is important to remember that the higher the wave on the water the higher the fly hook size can be, but still take into account the brightness and clarity of the water. Trout do see subsurface insects with wings. Some flies begin to hatch below the water surface. The Baetis group of up-winged flies swim or crawl beneath the surface as adult spinners in order to lay egg. There are occasions when duns and spent spinners are swamped by the current and forced under the water surface. Emerging duns that have been unable to get rid of their nymphal case or at the time of emerging are drowned when they float under rough water that is flowing over a large rock or ledge are also hunted by the fish. The trout on purpose lurk in slack water near eddies and small plunge pools to look out for these type of snacks. Clearly a trout does see winged insects under the surface at certain times of the year so be prepared with a selection of different colored wet flies for when the fish are not taking from the surface.