Green drake flies drive trout absolutely nuts. Whether you’re fishing with green drake nymphs or dries, when they hatch, trout up their aggression to the next level. These mayflies are an easy meal for trout, and they never get enough. Every fly angler needs to experience a green drake hatch in their lives. Fishing the hatch will give you a new spark for fly fishing.
About the Green Drake Hatch
Green drakes hatch in the Western and Eastern United States. The western green drake hatches are fairly legendary when they start in the middle of June. They’ll continue hatching all the way through the beginning of August in most parts of the West. Eastern green drakes will begin to hatch in the late spring and run throughout the summer.
Wherever you can find rocky water that is highly oxygenated and clear, you will find green drake hatches. They’re larger mayflies that travel toward warmer water and warmer weather, so be aware.
The green drake life cycle lasts about one to two years in total, depending on water temperatures. After eggs are laid, the drake will turn into a nymph, and they’ll burrow into the river bottom. Once they’re ready for the adult stage, they’ll move towards the water’s surface with their wings exposed, sit on the surface for a few minutes, and then take flight. By the next day, they’ll have mated and died.
Our Favorite Green Drake Fly Patterns
Eastern Green Drake
If you only can have one green drake fly pattern when you’re fishing out East, go with the Eastern Green Drake. It’s a beautiful, big mayfly pattern and leads to rewarding dry fly fishing. Plus, it’s a great fly to tie for beginner tiers.
- Hook: Size 12 Daiichi 1750
- Cream Thread
- Tail: Wood Duck Flank Feathers
- Body: Pale Yellow Rabbit Dubbing
- Wings: Mallard Flank Feather
- Hackle: Cream Badger
Prince nymphs are an ideal representation of a green drake nymph. It’s flashy enough to attract nearby fish and gets lower in the water column, so you have a good chance of finding those fish feeding on the bottom.
- Hook: 1XL Size 8 Nymph Hook
- Bead: Gold
- Thread: Black 6/0 Danville Fly Master
- Tails: Brown Goose Biots
- Rib: Gold Tinsel
- Body: Peacock Herl
- Hackle: Brown Hen
- Wings: White Goose Biots
Green Drake Cripple
The Green Drake Cripple is an ideal dry fly pattern for all of your green drake fishing excursions. It doesn’t matter if you’re on the East Coast or West Coast; this cripple pattern is a realistic representation of a fly that has not yet made it from an emerger to a green drake dun. Rising trout will obsess over this.
- Hook: Mustad C53S Size 10
- Tail: Olive Marabou
- Body: Three Moose Mane Hairs
- Thorax: Olive & Brown Dubbing
- Hackle: Green Grizzle
- Wing: Olive Deer Hair
CDC Green Drake Emerger
One of the more often forgotten about stages of a fly is when it’s emerging. Most anglers focus on the nymphs and dries, but trout love green drake mayflies when they’re in the midst of their emerging stage. This pattern will sit just below the surface and make for an easy trout target.
- Hook: Daiichi 1280, #10-14
- Thread: Danville 6/0 Olive
- Tail: Wood Duck or Mallard Dyed
- Wing: CDC
- Thorax: Superfine Gray/Olive Dubbing
- Throat: Partridge
Green Drake Parawulff
If you love fishing with Royal Wulff patterns, the Green Drake Parawulff combines the best parts of it with the style of a green drake fly. The dark gray wings and more attractor style design make this a great search pattern.
- Hook: STD- 2xl Dry #10-14
- Thread: Olive
- Tail: Moose Body Hair
- Rib: Fine Black Wire
- Body: White and Olive Peacock Herl
- Wing: Olive Dyed Mallard Flank
- Hackle: Grizzly and Light Ginger
Hairwing Western Green Drake
If you’re fishing in fast water, the Hairwing Western Green Drake should be your go-to pattern. It sits high on the water column and is extremely realistic.
- Hook: Tiemco 2302 #10-14
- Thread: Veevus 6/0 Olive
- Tail: Moose Body Hair
- Ribbing: Uni Floss Brown
- Body: Superfine Dubbing Dark Olive
- Hackle: Metz Grizzly Olive
- Wing: Elk Hair Premo Dun
Green Drake Parachute
If you want a pure attractor dry fly, the Green Drake Parachute should be near the top of your list. It will catch the attention of trout nearby, and it’s fairly easy to tie.
- Hook: Tiemco 100 #10-16
- Thread: Olive UTC 70
- Post: Grey McFlylon
- Tail: Moose Body Hair
- Body: Olive Hareline Dubbing
- Rib: Pearl Krystal Flash
- Hackle: Grizzly Olive Whiting Rooster Cape
How to Fish the Green Drake Hatch Successfully
One of the primary things anglers should remember about green drake fishing is that they’re not elegant or graceful insects. They move around on the surface of the water, so prioritize giving your fly a little extra action to gain the attention of the fish.
It’s also important for anglers to have a variety of green drake patterns in their fly box. Whether it’s green drake cripples or parachutes, you can never predict what they will want. I often start with a lower riding fly and then move to a more obnoxious pattern if that isn’t working.
Do not forget to fish emergers. Too many anglers ignore the success they can have if they fish emerger patterns. Trout absolutely love feeding on emerging patterns before the hatch, so do not be afraid to throw one on.
Finally, be sure the tippet you’re using is heavy enough to turn over your fly. Since green drakes are a little larger, a 3x tippet will work just fine. You need that extra power.
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