Although I remain very optimistic that the user friendly green drake will prove to be a successful fly during western green drake hatches, I decided to cover my bases by reviewing my inventory of the other green drake flies that delivered outstanding results during previous years. At the top of this list is the parachute green drake. I first began tying this fly in 2012 after some frustrating encounters with green drake hatches on the Frying Pan River. My post of 09/11/2012 provides a materials table and some brief notes regarding my introduction to this parachute style dry fly.
I typically stock three styles of green drake adults in my fly box, and the user friendly will increment that count to four. A size 14 parachute green drake is my most consistent producer, and I usually default to this balanced low floating version first. The comparadun and Harrop hair wing have their moments, but the paradrake seems to fool fish in a wider range of circumstances.
I love the white wing post on the parachute green drake, as it enables much better visibility than can be obtained from the olive earth-toned deer hair wings of the comparadun and Harrop versions. Floating a large size 14 fly with no hackle, as is the case with the comparadun, is also very challenging.
Since I began constructing parachute green drakes in 2012, I adopted two significant modifications that improved the appearance. Several years ago I viewed a technique on YouTube that demonstrated tying off the hackle against the wing post as well as whip finishing the fly at the same point. I applied this method to my parachute flies, and I was extremely pleased with the results. Trapped hackle fibers and gaps in the concentric wraps became a problem of the past.
I implemented my second improvement this winter, and once again I feel certain that it will be a permanent change. I substituted white turkey flat feathers for white calf body hair as the wing post. I read about this wing variation for parachute flies in A.K.’s Fly Box by A.K. Best. The turkey flat feather is not as dense as the calf body hair, and consequently it is easier to work with. The feather option is easier to stand up, provides less bulk at the front of the fly, and serves as a solid base for wrapping the parachute hackle.
When I counted my green drakes, I determined that I maintained adequate supplies of all size 12’s as well as the comparaduns and Harrop hair wings in size 14. However, my quantities of size 14 parachutes shrank below the reorder point, so I produced seven additional versions. Green drake hatches cannot arrive soon enough.