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Old 05-21-2013, 10:49 AM
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Default Re: green drake emerger pattern

The Western Green Drake, Drunella grandis, formerly classified as an Ephemerella (cousin to the Eastern Hendrickson, E. subvaria) is a VERY different insect from the famous Green Drake, Ephemera guttulata. The Drake, a cousin to the European E. danica, a slightly smaller though still fare larger insect than the Western Green Drake, a size 10 imitation about the size of an Eastern March Brown, is all but identical to the North American Eastern Green Drake. A large, burrowing Ephemeroptera, the emergent nymph swims with the vigor of a minnow and is largely ignored during its daytime sporadic emergence, it is voraciously targeted by trout during its dusk time spinner fall, however. Its imago's white abdomen was the inspiration for Walt Dette's "Coffin Fly" pattern and is all but identical to the E. danica of the British chalk streams and the rest of Europe. The European version is significant to American anglers as it is the insect referred to as "The Mayfly" that gives its popular name to all of our Ephemeroptera insects.

Along with the Brown Drake, Ephemera simulans, same insect both East and West and the giant Midwestern Mayfly, Hexagenia limbata, trout and anglers alike experience Drake Fever during the near dark spinner falls. Trout of a size that rarely rise to the surface set up shallow water feeding lies and glump on Drake spinners until their bellies feel crunchy in your hand as they are so stuffed. For Gutulata, I find an extended body, semi-spent, wound hackle wing spinner fly knotted to 3X tippet to be effective while for Grandis, merely a third the size of its Eastern namesake, I find a thorax style dun and a Comparadun to be effective, but many insist an emerger is better. A floating nymph, Quigly cripple and Mike Lawson's dual soft hackle fly are all probably equally good. Detail is important in all Drake patterns as the trouts' magnifying eye gets a real good look at them particularly on slicker currents.

In the East, on great Green Drake habitats like the upper Delaware watershed, patience is paramount as it takes some maturity and fortitude not to wade in prematurely as "regular" trout rise to early falling spinners or concurrent Sulphurs which likely spokes the big boys off their bank side, shallow lies and wait till the mass of spent, mating Mayflies fall to the water. Sit there, check and recheck every knot in your leader and preen your 2 1/2" (+ tail) offering with floatant until the frenzy breaks loose. On a famous Western Green Drake river like the Henry's Fork, mid morning on a late June day may have you dead drifting your #10 robust bodied dun as the trout are forced to compete with flocks of screaming, wheeling and diving Terns as all want a part in the Grandis feast.

You will see me, I am the guy with the grey beard and long billed hat on the Railroad Ranch in late June but it will be harder to see me a month earlier in the tail out of a big Delaware eddy because it will be nearly darkness.
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