Saturday, July 24, 2010

Love the Drake

When Steven Bird told me about the brown drake hatch on the Upper Columbia, I began researching the internet for useful patterns.  I found some Rene Harrop patterns that looked great, but I didn't have all the materials.  Consequently, I designed my own drake patterns using the materials I had.  The flies I tied are not unique.  Each is based on established fly patterns and fly tying concepts. By the way, Steven's unique and effective fly patterns can be found in his new book, Upper Columbia Flyfisher 

The fly below has its roots in the Parachute Adams and the Klinkhammer Emerger.  It also incorporates a trailing shuck much like a Quigley Cripple or Craig Matthew's Sparkle Dun.  I used ostrich herl for the body, poly yarn for the parachute, dun hackle for the wing, and ostrich herl and antron yarn for the tail.  I like to use black poly yarn for my parachute posts because black shows up so well in the evenings and on overcast days.  I also used black booby foam for the parachutes on some of these patterns.  The foam wing is unsinkable. 

White parachute posts show up better on bright days, and in my opinion, the fly below works as an attractor even when the hatch is not occurring.
Finally, although I rarely use them, I like to carry some flies with pink parachutes for those days when black or white wings aren't easy to see, or I just feel like casting my pink parachute fly. The flies above and below are tied with fine and dry dubbing for the body and peacock herl for the thorax.  The trailing shuck or tail is antron.
I have always had confidence in the Quigley Cripple.  The brown drake cripple below has a deer hair wing and a yellow foam wing case.  The rest of the fly is just hackle and ostrich herl (thorax, body, and tail).  Steven Bird and I discovered that we had each independently incorporated the yellow foam wing case.   I'm not sure if I discovered this idea independently or if I saw it somewhere in the past. 
Each of these flies works well for the hatch.  Fish seem more than willing to gobble them up recklessly.  Hooking the fish, however, is a separate challenge.  The key is to allow the fish to eat the fly.  The temptation is to snatch the fly out of the fish's mouth.

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