Green Drake Mayfly

 Green Drake Mayfly hatch matching flies.

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Green Drakes - The West's Second Super Hatch
Where, when & how in Oregon!
Text by: Mark Bachmann & Josh Linn    
Photos and Video by: Josh Linn & Marcy Stone
Josh Linn examines a wild Redband Trout that took a Green Drake dry fly...
Josh Linn examines a wild Redband Trout that took a Green Drake dry fly...
Proven Green Drake Fly Patterns
 Crown Jewel Nymph Never Sink Green Drake Victory Drake
Film Critic Hair Wing Dun Quill Body Parachute

Fishing Green Drake Hatches
These large insects are "trout candy" on our western streams. Green drakes are the largest mayflies that provide fishable hatches in our fast local rivers. In the Pacific Northwest region, look for them toward the end of the giant stonefly hatches; May & June on most rivers, but some spring creeks such as Oregon's Metolius River has strong late summer hatches as well.. Hatches occur during mid-day and are usually easily visible.  Windless, cloud-cover days are best. Green Drakes are large insects and evidently taste really good to trout.  When Green Drakes hatch in good numbers the trout forget all other foods and target drakes only.  A dense hatch of Green Drakes can bring the largest trout to the surface.  But, Green Drakes are fickle and somewhat unpredictable.  Some days have heavy hatches others very light.  Some regions of a stream will have more insects than others.  Green Drake hatches are something that the fully armed angler prepares for, even though it may not be the main target. However, if you ever encounter a major Green Drake hatch and are unprepared you will remember it with sorrow. 

Get In On The Green Drake Action
Green Drakes like to hatch from moderate flows and moderate water depths...
Green Drake mayflies like to hatch from moderate flows and moderate water depths...
Green Drakes hatch late May through June starting at lower elevations and progressing to higher elevations. Some very high elevation streams are reported to have Green Drake hatches as late as mid-September. Some streams have much heavier hatches than others. Even some parts of glacial and mountain streams have decent hatches, but spring creeks usually provide the densest and most reliable hatches.
Green Drake from The Descjutes...
Male Green Drake from The Metolius River...
Green Drakes are in the mayfly family, Drunella. There are several subspecies that can vary in size from #16 to #8. The largest varieties are called Grandis and the smaller ones are commonly referred to as Flavs. These pictures and text are about Grandis and related sub species, which are commonly tied on hook sizes #8 to #12. Extended body and parachute dry flies are very popular.
Green Drake from The Metolius...
Female Green Drake from The Deschutes River...
Green Drakes produce trout feeding periods on nymphs, emergers, duns and spinners. Dry fly action is most sought after. Both naturals and artificial flies are easy to see on the water, by both fish and anglers. The flies are normally easy to cast. Look for action in riffle water of moderate, depth. Flies are best fished with absolutely no drag from your line or leader.
This Redband Trout ate a Green Drake Parachute...
This Redband Trout ate a Green Drake obviously had been hooked before...
The most famous hatches of Green Drakes happen on the Henry's Fork of the Snake River in Idaho. Washington's Yakima River and the Deschutes in Oregon get reliable hatches of Drakes. An upper Deschutes tributary the Metolius has become the most famous Mecca for anglers in the Pacific Northwest that follow Green Drake hatches. Spring creeks and tail-waters provide the best action, but some mountain and valley streams have surprisingly good hatches of Green Drakes, such as the upper Sandy River tributaries. Some sections of very large rivers such as parts of the Willamette have very good hatches as well.
A Green Drake on Marcy Stone...
Green Drake Mayflies...close up and personal...

Quigley’s Crown Jewel, Green Drake
Western Green Drakes nymphs are one of the West’s largest mayfly nymphs. They are super crawlers that prefer streams with swifter currents, although they can also be found in spring creeks where current areas are formed by obstructions. Green Drake nymphs are lousy swimmers and when dislodged struggle clumsily, drifting along with legs spread making an undulation motion hoping to regain contact with the substrate.
When hatching, they crawl up substrate obstacles toward the surface and release into the current swimming downstream to gain speed. Just before reaching the surface they turn 180 degrees and spread their legs into a pronged fan position. 
This move, combined with the natural buoyancy of their internal air bubbles and gases helps them to shed their nymphal skin and hatch.

Many Green Drake nymphs are a brown to olive brown in color. I fished this nymph successfully for years before adding the green bead and flash to the thorax making the pattern even more effective. The Crown Jewel nymph now contrasts a dark, ribbed body against the swelling, shiny, gaseous looking thorax.  A double trigger effect, pronounced silhouette and color changing thorax. As a general rule the Green Drake hatches usually start mid-morning to early afternoon depending on water temp and weather. Before the hatch begins, use the Crown Jewel to target water located behind swifter currents in spring creeks and above riffles in free stone rivers. Trout will key into these areas as they wait for the nymphs to release downstream in the faster water. If I don’t get bit on the dead drift, I let it swing to the end, and then I slowly retrieve the fly using a very small twitch, stop, twitch technique before recasting. For larger and deeper runs swinging the Crown Jewel with a sink tip can be quite productive as well. During the peak of the hatch I continue to fish the Crown Jewel as a dropper below a high floating drake dun. I use this pattern outside the Green Drake hatch as a general attractor nymph. Due to its buggy insect appearance it can also imitate smaller stone fly nymphs, crawling sedge nymphs or dragon fly nymphs. I have taken fish with this pattern in the rivers of Patagonia, as I believe it can have similar appearance to a small Pancora, the South American crab type crayfish.  Text by: Bob Quigley, Fly photos by: Mark Bachmann

Item Description Size Price To Top
SIG0279 Quigley's Crown Jewel Green Drake Nymph 10 3 for $6.75

Quigley's Film Critic,
Green Drake

This pattern is deadly on the most selective of situations on spring creeks, tail waters,  lakes and placid pools.  I use this pattern as a better replacement for my original Quigley Cripple and fish it in the same situations which is when the hatch is on.  It’s no secret among long time hatch fisherman that we have developed more educated trout
Quigley's Film Critic Green Drake
in water that is receiving ever more angling pressure.  The film critic certainly fills the bill as a new surface film pattern, for me and all who have tested it.  The pattern is essentially a floating half-submerger, 1/2 nymph, with a true to the natural thin and segmented body.  The pattern has an emerging shedding shuck look to the tail that adds even more realism for selective trout.  Aside from greater visibility and floatation the stacked hackle and forward wing suggests mayfly in the escapement mode, ready for flight, but is hung in the film hence the name.  The flies in this series land delicately on the stacked hackle, tilting the wing up and forward providing great visibility for the angler of all levels of experience and capability.
Text by: Bob Quigley, Fly photo by: Mark Bachmann
Item Description Size Price To Top
SIG1635 Quigley's Film Critic Green Drake 10 3 for $6.75

Quigley's Victory Green Drake
Crippled and awash in the surface film, this fly is so vulnerable that trout find it very hard to resist. We like to put fly floatant on the slayed wings and let the heavy body go untreated. Fish it like any dry fly. The Victory Drake is at its best in broken water.

Item Description Size Price To Top
SIG1648 Quigley's Victory Green Drake 10 3 for $6.75

Yeager's Neversink  Green Drake
Yup, it's lighter than water, so even if it gets pulled under by the current, it will float back to the surface. The fly fishes well suspended in the fill or ride on top of it. some anglers like to cut a notch out of the bottom of the hackle so the fly stands straight up on the surface of the water.
Yeager's Neversink  Green Drake
Item Description Size Price To Top
SIG1676 Yeager's Neversink  Green Drake 10 3 for $6.75
SIG1677 Yeager's Neversink  Green Drake 12 3 for $6.75

Green Drake B.D. E. EXT Dun
The hardest part about fishing this fly in a dense hatch, is its hard to tell your fly from the reel ones.  It floats because of the foam body, but you will want to dress the fly with floatant for the best performance.  The B.D.E. EXT Dun will float in the fastest flows, but it also fools 'em on slick spring creek water.

Available by 06/10/06.

Item Description Size Price To Top
03108-08 Green Drake B.D.E. EXT Dun 8 3 for $6.25

Green Drake Hair Wing Dun  Green Drake Hair Wing Dun 
These hefty mayflies are a big enough bite to bring trout up in rough, fast moving water.  To fish this kind of water takes a different fly the fishing smooth water.  Here the the fly doesn't have to be as realistic, but it needs to be extremely buoyant.  It also need to be very durable.  The hair wing dun carries a lot of floatation in the wing as well as hackles and large body. Grease the whole fly, but with just enough to coat the fly but not weight it down or change its color.   Dave's Bug Float works good on this fly.
Item Description Size Price To Top
15763 Green Drake Hair Wing Dun 10 3 for $6.75
15764 Green Drake Hair Wing Dun 12 3 for $6.75

Green Drake Quill Body Parachute Green Drake Quill Body Parachute
This fly is gaining popularity, both in the Pacific Northwest and the rocky Mountain states.  The body is wrapped with a turkey biot feather which gives a very realistic, segmented look to the abdomen of the fly.  Since this is the part of the body that most heavily impacts the surface of the water, it is highly visible to the trout.  It is slightly more durable than bundled deer hair bodies of the extended body paradrake flies.
Item Description Size Price To Top
MFD0018 Green Drake Quill Body Parachute 10 3 for $6.75

The key to success is "understanding".  You can never know enough.
Understanding the organisms that trout feed on is one of the keys to catching trout.

Dave Hughes and Rick Hafele
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