Author Archives: wellerfish

Damsel Adult – 03/21/2020

Damsel Adult 03/21/2020 Photo Album

With the corona virus necessitating self quarantines in Colorado, and a snowstorm placing a freeze on outdoor activities, I decided to return to my vice. During the winter I cycled through all my mainstay flies, and I was now positioned to undertake some experimental patterns. But before I forged into the new and untested, I remembered a day on a Frost Creek pond, when I was frustrated with my inability to hook trout in spite of the presence of abundant quantities of large rising fish. Rising is really an understatement, as most of the trout were aggressively slashing at surface food. My post of 07/12/2019 describes the discouraging day on a Frost Creek pond.

The obvious food that the Frost Creek trout craved was adult damsel flies. Hundreds of delicate blue aquatic insects fluttered about and perched on the reeds along the shoreline. At the time I vowed to remedy this lack of matching imitations, and with the completion of my standard tying for the upcoming season, I prepared to tie damsel adults. I started with an on line search of damsel adult patterns, and I began with one of my favorite tiers, Charlie Craven. I was pleased to discover that Charlie had a parachute damsel adult on his web site, and I promptly decided to make this pattern my first prototype.

Angled

Unfortunately the recipe called for a braided damsel body material, blue 2mm foam, and blue dubbing. I possess drawers full of tying materials, but the color blue is totally absent. I made the drive to Charlie’s shop in Arvada, and Charlie himself help me find and purchase the necessary materials. He was out of blue damsel body braid, so I bought white and a blue marker and colored my own. This actually worked out quite nicely, when I finally sat down to make my first batch of adult damsels.

Fly ComponentMaterial
HookSize 12 Tiemco 2457
ThreadGray 6/0 (blue prescribed by Craven)
AbdomenBraided damsel body
Thorax2 mm foam
WingsLarge grizzly hackle

A Batch of Five

The Craven parachute adult damsel is actually quite easy to tie, and I quickly produced five for my fly box for the 2020 season. In Charlie’s introduction to the tying steps, he mentioned the teneral stage of the adults. This refers to the stage of the adult when it first emerges from the nymph while clinging to vegetation along the shoreline. The adults are pale yellow to olive at this time and very vulnerable to getting swept into the water by gusts of wind, and this circumstance is not overlooked by the nearby ravenous trout. In preparation for encountering this event, I tied two additional adults with a light olive braid, foam and dubbing.

Olive Color

Hopefully the corona virus will pass before the summer fishing season, and I will be prepared to cast my damsel adults on Colorado lakes and ponds.

North Fork of St. Vrain Creek – 03/18/2020

Time: 10:00AM – 4:00PM

Location: Buttonrock Preserve

North Fork of St. Vrain Creek 03/18/2020 Photo Album

With my scheduled surgery on my birthday postponed indefinitely, and the corona virus spreading at unprecedented rates, I decided to take advantage of a forecast mild late winter day, before a snowstorm moved into Colorado on Thursday. Because Jane, Amy and I traveled to Vail for a day of skiing on March 9, we were self quarantined, but a day of fly fishing seemed like a safe and enjoyable form of social distancing.

I narrowed my destination choices down to four, and the list included the Cache la Poudre in Ft. Collins, the North Fork of St. Vrain Creek in Buttonrock Preserve, the same North Fork in Lyons, and the South Platte River in Deckers. I consulted with my fly fishing buddy, Trevor (@rockymtnangler), and he promptly recommended Buttonrock Preserve. Trevor enjoyed an outstanding day there several weeks ago, and the flows were around 20 CFS with a high temperature in Lyons projected to be in the low sixties. These factors convinced me to make the one hour and fifteen minute drive to the small front range stream near Lyons.

A Good Place to Start

I arrived at the parking area by 9:30AM, and I was surprised by the number of cars in the lot. Obviously quite a few self quarantined workers were unable to work, and thus, taking advantage of unexpected free time to hike the access road. I quickly assembled my Orvis Access four weight and threw on my light down coat and strode at a medium pace through the gate and followed the dirt road to a point just beyond Longmont Reservoir. Trevor mentioned that he had success along the entire length of the creek, so I decided to sample the lower creek, that I normally skip past.

I Skipped This Pool

I configured my line with a yellow fat Albert, a 20 incher, and a fly that resembled a Frenchie without the jig hook. I spent the next two hours working my way upstream with the dry/dropper rig but failed to interest a single trout in my offerings. Needless to say I was frustrated. During this unproductive quest for trout I cycled through a salad spinner, Frenchie, ultra zug bug, chartreuse copper john, and hares ear nymph in addition to the first pair of flies enumerated above. Nothing worked, and I was perplexed regarding my inability to attract interest from the small mountain tailwater trout.

I arrived at a nice pool across from the incomplete Chimney Rock Dam by noon, and I paused to down my lunch and collect my thoughts. The sun was out, and it climbed high enough above the vertical rock wall opposite my position to bathe ninety percent of the stream in sunshine. As I observed while munching my carrots, I spotted a shadow, as it hovered above a large light colored flat rock. Sure enough the dark form moved from side to side, as it appeared to snatch small food items from the drift. Clearly the trout were feeding on something, but what was it?

Classic RS2

Salvation Nymph Nabbed a Pair

By 12:30 I stood next to the stream near my lunchtime dining spot, and I was refreshed and anxious to continue my pursuit of cold water fish. I retained the yellow fat Albert, but beneath it I knotted a salvation nymph and a classic RS2. I began lobbing casts upstream of the previous location of the trout shadow, that I observed during lunch, and I allowed the fat Albert and trailing flies to swing past the flat rock. I am not sure whether it was the same fish, but on the fourth drift a ten inch rainbow trout snatched the RS2, just as it began to swing, and the fish counter registered one. After two and a half hours of fruitless casting, I was finally on the scoreboard.

One of the Better Fish

Huge Appetite

For the next three hours I prospected the dry/dropper rig upstream, and the fish count increased from one to nine. The highlight of this period was an eight inch brown trout that crushed the size eight fat Albert. Two of the first nine landed fish grabbed the salvation nymph, but the main producer was a sparkle wing RS2 that replaced the classic RS2 after a thirty minute trial. I made the change hoping that the sparkle wing would serve as a more visible attractor, and the tactic seemed to pay off. Of course four or five temporary connections were part of the scene, but in many cases the drop offs were very small trout that may have measured beneath my six inch standard.

Risers in This Long Pool

At 3:30PM I approached a long smooth pool, and sporadic rises caught my attention. I astutely avoided splashing the large fat Albert in midst of the feeding trout and removed the three fly set up and shifted to a single fly approach. For my single fly I chose a size 22 Klinkhammer BWO. I did not observe any naturals, but the sky was clouding up, and it was the baetis time of the year, so I played the hunch. In an earlier slow moving pool, I switched to a CDC BWO, but that choice prompted only a couple refusals, before it was ignored entirely. Shortly after the earlier switch to a dry, I spotted a pair of small gray stoneflies, and I regretted not testing one of my size 18 early stonefly imitations.

Klinkhammer BWO Caught Two

Sipped Dry

My late afternoon Klinkhammer selection proved to be a winner, and I landed two nine inch brown trout that could not resist the low riding emerger imitation. In addition to the landed fish, I connected ever so briefly with several additional opportunistic feeders. Landing two trout on the Klinkhammer dry in the last thirty minutes was icing on the cake for my first double digit day of 2020. Of course the trout were small, but in spite of this minor drawback, I was challenged to find a combination of flies that would dupe wild fish, and I managed to partially solve the riddle. Three fish were in the nine to ten inch range, and the remainder were between six and eight inches. Wednesday was an example of social distancing at its finest, as I never came within six feet of the other outdoor enthusiasts that paraded along the road high above me. Hopefully the March 19 storm will fade quickly, and I will experience additional corona virus induced outdoor adventures.

Fish Landed: 11

Arkansas River – 03/11/2020

Time: 12:00PM – 4:00PM

Location: Downstream from Salida

Arkansas River 03/11/2020 Photo Album

With surgery around the corner and the coronavirus expanding at unprecedented rates, I decided that the best remedy was a trip to a river. Crowd avoidance is a part of the solitary sport of fly fishing and also a recommended defense against the spreading virus. A forecast high temperature of sixty-six degrees in Denver only added to the allure of a day on a stream. My day on the North Fork of St. Vrain Creek on Friday, March 6 was OK, but I yearned for some larger catches. As I searched my options, I settled on the Arkansas River. The high temperature for Salida was forecast to be 59 degrees, and the flows remained steady at 280 CFS over the most recent four days. The fly shop reports suggested nymphing the deeper slow moving areas with the possibility of afternoon dry fly action on midges. Blue winged olives were not yet present, but stream samples indicated that nymphs were active, and emergence was around the corner. Unfortunately Salida required six hours of round trip driving, so I packed clothing, in case the action was hot, and I decided to stay over and fish again on Thursday.

I arrived at my selected pullout by 11:30AM, and after gearing up and assembling my Sage four weight. my watch displayed 11:45, so I devoured my lunch rather than pack it along on my back. Once the last spoonful of yogurt was swallowed, I carefully negotiated my way down a steep bank and crossed the river and then hiked along the railroad tracks for .4 mile to a favorite starting point. I was convinced that deep nymphing with a strike indicator was likely my prevalent technique for the early March outing, but a relatively shallow side channel on the north side of the river convinced me to try the dry/dropper approach before making the relatively time consuming conversion.

Right Channel Ahead

I knotted a tan pool toy hopper to my line and then added a beadhead hares ear and a sparkle wing RS2 to the tippet. I began at the downstream border of the north braid and worked my way up to the long smooth pool without a hint of trout presence. When I established my position at the bottom one-third of the pool, I spotted two fish rising along the subtle center seam near the midpoint of the pool. One of the fish was rising fairly regularly, but the one on the north side of the seam was very sporadic. I debated whether to shift to a single dry fly approach or gamble on the dry/dropper. I made the wrong choice and lobbed the three fly configuration to the top of the pool and allowed it to drift through the area previously occupied by feeding trout. Much to my chagrin the large dry fly put down the risers. I attempted to reverse my misfortune and completed the lengthy task of clipping off the three flies and then extended the leader with some 5X and tied on a size 22 CDC BWO. I was uncertain what small morsel of food created the surface feeding, but a tiny olive is generally a solid choice that covers multiple bases. These were all solid theories, but the previously rising fish ignored my offering as well as the size 18 parachute ant that succeeded the BWO.

I scanned the upper portion of the pool for surface feeding, but it was absent, so I reconfigured the dry/dropper, albeit with a Pat’s rubber legs and a classic RS2. I progressed upstream along the north braid and cast to some very attractive faster runs, but I only managed to spook a couple nice fish. In hindsight, I wish I had tried a midge larva instead of the RS2, since it was still fairly early in the day, and no evidence of blue winged olives existed.

Site of Fish Number One Take

Once I reached the top of the run, I reversed my direction and ambled downstream along the north bank, until I reached my normal starting point; a gorgeous deep run with a large shelf pool on my side of the river. For this deeper water I decided to implement my deep nymphing approach, and I reconfigured with a split shot, 20 incher and sparkle wing RS2. Other than a period when I substituted a pheasant tail for the RS2, these flies remained my workhorse offerings for the remainder of the day. I deployed a bright green wool tuft from my New Zealand strike indicator kit and dabbed some floatant around the base, where it was attached to the line.

On Display

20 Incher Getting It Done

At the top of the shelf pool where some faster water cascaded over some rocks and fanned out into the softer water, the indicator dipped, and I quickly reacted with a hook set. I was very pleased to feel life on the end of my line, and after a brief battle I guided a twelve inch brown trout to my net, as it displayed a 20 incher in its lip. Fifteen minutes later I advanced to a nice deep riffle just below the point of the island that attracted my attention earlier. I prospected this area, and a mirror image twelve inch brown trout grabbed the 20 incher. I was quite pleased that the size 12 2XL nymph was attracting the attention of the brown trout in the Arkansas River in early March.

Also a Fan of the 20 Incher

Produced Number 2

Next I moved up along the left side of the small island, and near the top I temporarily hooked a fish that seemed to favor the RS2. I will never know for certain, but the fight and escape suggest the small size 22 hook. From the top of the island I retreated to the downstream point, and I worked through the north channel a second time with the nymph approach, but as I originally feared, the low clear water was not conducive to the split shot and weighted nymphs.

Two Rainbows Dwell in This Area

By 2PM I reached the top of the island and decided to cross to the south side, where the river deflected off a high vertical rock wall. The low flows enabled a careful crossing, and a gorgeous riffle of moderate depth elevated my expectations. On the second cast I felt a strike just as the nymphs began to swing at the end of the drift, and I immediately set. This fish battled up and down the run several times, and when I slid my net beneath it, I marveled at a chunky thirteen inch rainbow. The aggressive rainbow would prove to be my best fish of the day, and it snatched the sparkle wing RS2. Once I photographed and released my prize, I resumed fishing the attractive run, and I covered the ten feet that rolled along the wall more thoroughly. On one of these casts I performed some poor mends which accelerated the nymphs, and another rainbow could not resist the movement of the sparkle wing, and I netted another thirteen inch rainbow. I landed four fish in two hours and endured a pair of long distance releases, so I concluded that my prospects were looking up. My goal was to catch larger fish than achieved on the St. Vrain, and I was on track for completing that objective.

Chunky Rainbow

I wish I could report that my catch rate continued, but unfortunately I spent the last two hours advancing upstream for .5 mile, and I added one more twelve inch brown toward the very end of my time on the river. I was very selective about my targeted areas, and held out for slow velocity and moderate depth near faster current or along the bank, but I was not rewarded for my strategic approach. The sun warmed the air considerably and the wind became a negative, but it seemed that the fish disappeared. There was a brief period when olive midges danced along the surface of the river, but other than that, a food source seemed to be absent. I contemplated a streamer, but I was averse to making the changeover late in the day, and stuck with the patterns that produced earlier. I was convinced that the trout were not selective to a specific aquatic insect and surmised that the large 20 incher could once again attract interest. It did not, and I ended my day at 4PM .5 mile upriver from the Santa Fe.

Sparkle Wing RS2

Shelf Pool Produced

Five fish in four hours represents a below average catch rate, but all the landed trout were in the twelve to thirteen inch size range, and I was pleased with the diversity of three browns and two bows. I nearly had the large river to myself, and other than the wind, the weather was quite pleasant for March 11. I drove six hours for four hours of fishing, but Wednesday was a success in the eyes of this avid fisherman.

Fish Landed: 5

North Fork of St. Vrain Creek – 03/06/2020

Time: 11:00AM – 3:00PM

Location: Buttonrock Preserve

North Fork of St. Vrain Creek 03/06/2020 Photo Album

A forecast of high temperatures approaching seventy degrees dictated a day of fishing on Friday, March 6. My last outing was February 1 on Boulder Creek, so I was overly anxious for another winter trip with spring in the air. I checked the flows on several front range options, but rather quickly I settled on the North Fork of St. Vrain Creek in the Buttonrock Preserve. The DWR chart exhibited steady flows in the 20 CFS range, and I knew from prior experience that these were decent numbers for a day of winter fishing. Temperatures in Lyons, CO, the closest town, were expected to peak in the upper fifties.

I departed Denver by 8:30, and after a brief stop for fuel, I arrived at the parking lot for the Buttonrock Preserve by 10AM. Several fishermen were gearing up, but my process was apparently more efficient, since I was on the trail by 10:20. Before my departure on Friday morning, I viewed a video on how to utilize the New Zealand strike indicator, that I received for Christmas, and I was impressed with how easy it was to add and remove from my line.

A Nice Pool

The access road was alternately dry, muddy and covered with ice and snow; but, I hiked for thirty minutes and arrived at a satisfactory starting spot and carefully backed my way down a steep rocky bank to a section of the creek that contained a series of short deep pools. I began my quest for winter trout with a peacock hippie stomper, beadhead hares ear nymph and Pat’s rubber legs; but after forty-five minutes of fruitless casting and covering a substantial distance, the fish count stalled on zero. I was bordering on frustration but reminded myself that the water remained quite cold, and warmer afternoon temperatures portended more active fish. During the morning time period I swapped the Pat’s rubber legs for an ultra zug bug and a salvation nymph.

Hiding Spot

Prince Nymph

At 11:45 I found a nice open area with large rocks perfect for lunch, and I took advantage to consume my light snack. After lunch I decided to modify my offerings, and I exchanged the hippie stomper for a size 8 yellow fat Albert and replaced the hares ear and salvation with a prince nymph and Craven soft hackle emerger. A tiny gray stonefly perched on my hand during lunch, and the soft hackle emerger was an attempt to mimic the size 18 insect.

Craven Soft Hackle Emerger

Finally after another fifteen minutes of casting, a fish slashed at the fat Albert, but a momentary connection was my only reward for an instinctive hook set. I did not wait long, however, before a nice ten inch brown trout crushed the fat Albert in a slow shelf pool on the opposite side of the creek. This prize did not escape, and I lifted the deep buttery colored brown into my net and snapped a few photos. I continued my progress upstream in the early afternoon and netted two small rainbow trout. They were both barely over six inches, and one grabbed the prince nymph, while the other nabbed the soft hackle emerger.

As I continued upstream, I arrived at a relatively deep but short pool, where the creek deflected off a large collection of branches and sticks. I spotted several fish at the tail of the pool, but they rose to inspect the fat Albert but resisted the temptation to eat. I decided to change tactics, and I removed the three fly dry/dropper configuration and tied on a size 18 stonefly adult. This fly prompted a refusal, and then it was treated with total disdain, so I once again executed a change. I replaced the small stonefly with a size 22 CDC olive hoping to cover a midge or blue winged olive natural. The move partially paid off, when a ten inch rainbow darted from the stick bramble and inhaled my imitation. I set the hook and played the fish for fifteen seconds, at which point it twisted free of the small dry fly.

Fat Albert Produced

On Display

I was back to the drawing boards, and I retained the small olive, as I encountered another long slow moving pool. Unfortunately the CDC olive proved to be a one fish wonder, and I once again contemplated a move. I remembered the New Zealand indicator system and decided to test it out. I crimped a split shot to my line and then deployed the indicator four feet above the split shot. For flies I chose a prince nymph and a sparkle wing RS2. The deep nymphing system lasted for thirty minutes, and I added a fourth trout to my count in the form of a six inch brown trout that struck the RS2. I grew weary of the indicator style of fishing and decided to try one last ploy before ending the day.

Inviting Pool

I inspected my fly box and focused on a size 14 gray stimulator. This struck me as a solid lead fly, and below it I knotted the RS2. I flicked the large dry fly to the top of a nice pool and tight to a vertical rock wall and allowed the two fly combination to drift along the rock and then across from me and downstream. On the third such pass a six inch trout nipped the sparkle wing, just as I lifted to make another cast, and fish number five rested in my net for a short amount of time. I progressed upstream a bit farther, but once again my fly was ignored, and at 3PM I decided to call it a day.

Friday was a gorgeous day from a weather perspective; however, the fishing was quite slow. I managed to land five trout during four hours of concentrated fishing with the largest being a ten incher that savored the fat Albert. The air temperature rose to the upper fifties, but the melting snow fields along the creek reminded me that winter was relinquishing its grip at a slow pace. I’m sure the melting snow kept the water temperature below the level required to promote more active feeding. The five day forecast projects more days with highs in the sixties, so I plan to venture forth on another early season fly fishing expedition.

Fish Landed: 5

Yellow Sally – 02/26/2020

Yellow Sally 02/26/2020 Photo Album

For many years I viewed the yellow sally as a summer hatch that did not occur with enough density to attract trout to the surface in great quantities on major rivers. Sure it was a good searching pattern on small high country creeks, but for hatch matching I carried some just in case but did not use them frequently. That line of thought shifted dramatically after several blizzard hatches on the Eagle River in recent years during the post run off season. If the reader is interested in a vivid description of one of these outings, check out my 07/03/2017 post on the Eagle River. I described a blizzard hatch of yellow sallies, although you will note that I fished an iron sally and hares ear nymph through the hatch and did quite well. Nevertheless, I do not anticipate encountering another similar hatch without access to some yellow sally dry flies. Fish on larger rivers such as the Eagle, Arkansas and Colorado do tune into the plentiful supply of small yellow stoneflies.

Is It Real?

With the improved ranking of the yellow sally dry fly in my fly choice hierarchy, I took a quick inventory and concluded that I could use four additional size 14’s. My size 16’s were adequate, so I positioned myself at the tying station and cranked out some additional imitations. I have experimented with other patterns, but I concluded that the basic deer hair version works as well as any. Only three basic materials are required; yellow dubbing, yellow deer hair and ginger hackle. I feel prepared for the next yellow sally hatch that greets me on western waters.

Size 14 Yellow Sallies

Parachute Ant – 02/26/2020

Parachute Ant 02/26/2020 Photo Album

I would never want to be present on a stream or lake without a parachute ant in my fly box. I recall numerous occasions, when fish were rising to unidentifiable food sources, and I cycled through a dozen flies without a favorable response. As a last resort I plucked a black size 18 parachute ant from my box; and, boom, the extra selective fish confidently sipped my ant. Imagine how good it would be, if I did not save it for my fly of last resort. I do recall several instances on South Boulder Creek, when I used a black parachute ant as a searching pattern, and it produced in fine fashion. In these cases the water was smooth, and I was able to follow the fly easily.

Better Focus

For a materials table, background on my introduction to this fly, and step by step tying instructions please refer to my earlier post of 01/11/2012.  This fly will not disappoint you.

I counted my parachute ants stashed in my fly box and boat box and storage compartments and ascertained that I possessed adequate quantities for 2020. I, therefore, do not need to adjourn to my vice to manufacture additional flies, but when I do, I’ll have my 01/11/2012 post to refer to.

Klinkhammer Blue Winged Olive – 02/23/2020

Klinkhammer Blue Winged Olive 02/23/2020 Photo Album

I counted my CDC blue winged olive supply and determined that adequate quantities were present in my bins for the upcoming season. Over the last several years I settled on three different styles of blue winged olive flies to match the ever changing emergence of these diminutive mayflies. In most cases the CDC olive is my first option, but quite frequently, especially on windy days, the trout ignore the CDC version, and this circumstance forces me to experiment with alternatives. A craven soft hackle emerger without a bead occasionally produces on difficult and windy days, but I apply floatant and fish it in the film, and this presentation is very difficult to track. A larger leading fly assists with visibility, but the wet fly fished as a dry is my third and final choice.

Not Bad

Several years ago I experimented with a Klinkhammer BWO pattern. You can view a materials table along with some narrative about this fly in my 01/09/2018 post. A link to an instance when the Klinkhammer justified my confidence is contained in my 02/22/2019 post.

Four New BWO Energers

My supply of Klinkhammer blue winged olives lagged my other versions, and this condition is probably related to its late addition as a mainstay fly in my arsenal. I remedied this situation to some extent, when I visited my fly tying station and churned out four new size 22 models. Hopefully the Klinkhammer will continue to be a productive addition to my fly box in 2020.

Deer Hair Caddis – 02/16/2020

Deer Hair Caddis 02/16/2020 Photo Album

My post of 11/28/2011 provides a materials table and an account of my early adoption of the deer hair caddis as an effective producer. Another post on 12/01/2011 documents the effectiveness of the deer hair caddis possessing a dark olive-brown body. An update of the deer hair caddis is available with my 02/24/2019 post.

A Row of Caddis Between Green Drakes and Stimulators

My caddis tying efforts generally follow pale morning duns, so I gathered my supply boxes and counted my carryover inventory. I was once again pleased to realize that adequate quantities of size 16 and 18 caddis occupied my storage containers in the common body colors of olive-brown, light gray, yellow, and tan. I accepted my good fortune and moved on to the next dry fly category to evaluate.

PMD Comparaduns – 02/15/2020

PMD Comparaduns 02/15/2020 Photo Album

Upon completion of green drake patterns, my winter fly tying routine normally transitions to pale morning dun imitations. After many years of success I settled on two patterns that generally fulfill my needs during a pale morning dun hatch. Comparaduns represent an accurate low riding likeness, and cinnamon and light gray bodies seem to cover nearly all pale morning dun scenarios. Another variable in the pale morning dun hatch matching game is size, and I typically stock size 18 and size 16 comparaduns, and these two sizes and colors seem to satisfy all my needs.

Cinnamon Size 16 Comparaduns

I collected my fly storage containers and counted my supply of cinnamon and light gray comparaduns in the two prevalent sizes, and I was pleased to determine that I possessed adequate quantities for the upcoming season. This raised the question of why I did not deplete my supply during 2019. The late and heavy run off during 2019 overlapped with the normal hatching time period of pale morning duns on freestone rivers and streams. I sat out the high murky conditions, and consequently missed the bulk of the pale morning dun hatch activity. Another dependable provider of pale morning dun entertainment is the Frying Pan River, but for some reason I never made the trek to the popular tailwater in the Roaring Fork Valley in 2019.

Parachute Green Drake – 02/09/2020

Parachute Green Drake 02/09/2020 Photo Album

I was recently asked to name my favorite hatch, and I quickly replied with western green drakes. Every summer I make a point of seeking these large olive flies on western waters. Western green drake hatches are not dense, but the relatively large size of the mayflies make them a favorite target of western trout. Quite often I experience excellent success by prospecting with a green drake before and after the actual hatch. Trout have long memories, when it comes to green drakes.

Number One Out of the Vice

After many years of searching for green drake hatches, I settled on four primary patterns that yield success during my infrequent but much appreciated encounters. The four producers are the parachute green drake, green drake comparadun, Harrop hair wing green drake, and user friendly green drake. Each seems to have its moment of excellence, but the parachute style seems to generate the most consistent results. I began tying the user friendly green drakes last winter, but the acceptance level was not as high as I anticipated.

Up Close

My post of 01/10/2016 provides some nice background information on the parachute green drake, and my 02/13/2015 post outlines the various styles and their unique qualities. For a materials table and detailed description of the materials utilized check out my post of  09/11/2012. Yes, I have been tying these green drake flies for quite awhile.

A Batch of Six

I counted my supply of all versions, and I determined that the parachute green drake in size 14 was the most depleted. I gathered the requisite materials and created six new imitations for the new season; thus, increasing my inventory to fifteen. Since the parachute style spends the most time on my line, it makes sense that their quantity was reduced the most. Several years ago I switched from using white calftail for the wing to white turkey flats. The turkey flats are lighter and allow for a more slender tapered body.

I anxiously look forward to encountering many green drake hatches during 2020.