I was fortunate to get some green drake education on my trip to Pennsylvania last year. Until then, i’d only really tuned-in when I saw the dramatic-looking coffin flies (green drake spinners) appear. As the most anticipated hatch of the year, they have the patterns to match them.
The B&B I stayed at had an incredible fly shop attached to it. Guests could have access to the shop any hour of the day, provided the host was awake. To make matters worse, (or better, depending on the strength of your will power) he kept a tab. So, the temptation to buy lots of patterns was too great to pass up. Among them was this unlikely-looking creation. The design seemed to make some sense, but the color was only an approximation of what I’d remembered the naturals to look like.
When I returned home, I was happy to see that trout in Ontario seemed to like the PA-style patterns…..allot. While fishing the hatch last year on a Georgian Bay tributary, we moved upstream of a big pool where the green drake nymphs had been producing well. Too eager to tie on a lighter leader, my buddy Quinn Bingham tied one of these to his 5′-3X nymph rig and placed a beautiful cast along an undercut bank. It drifted about a foot and vanished in a quiet swirl. When he set the hook, the water boiled and the fish charged to the opposite side of the river. After another fast run, the line went slack. Broken line I thought. Quinn reeled in the line and there was the fly~the hook was pulled straight under the pressure of one of this river’s elusive big browns, the leader too strong to break. Experiences like that burn into our memory, giving you a great deal of faith in a pattern.
Tying The Green Drake Emerger Pattern
Hook:Dry Fly, size#8 2XL
Thread:Light Cahill 8/0 (pale yellow)
Tail/trailing shuck:Z-Lon dirty/tan color
Body:Tan dry fly dubbing (light tan rabbit fur is fine)
Wing Case:Yellow mallard flank
Wing:Snowshoe rabbit’s foot
Head:Rusty brown dubbing (Hare-tron 20. Seal Brown used here)
Tie-on, wind thread back to the bend in the hook. Tie-in the Z-Lon. Make sure that it looks irregular in length as shown. Dub a tapered body as shown.
Stroke the fibers of a well-marked yellow mallard flank feather to align the tips. Trim them a bit to make them even if necessary. Tie them in a shown, the barred side facing down.
Pinch the tips of a good-sized bunch of hair from the bottom of your rabbit’s foot. Part the hair surrounding it so that you can snip the hair close to the "hide." This will give you the maximum length, making it easier to tie-in. Remove the underfur and tie in as shown.
Trim the butts of the hair at an angle and cover with tight thread wraps.
Dub the head with the rusty/brown dubbing
Split the wing hair into 2 equal bunches and pull the mallard flank forward as shown. Tie-it off and make several tight thread wraps to create a head. Add head cement.
The finished fly
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