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scflyfisher 04-22-2008 11:19 AM

Green Drakes
Byron's fishing report today got me thinking about all the stories I have heard about legendary Green Drake hatches. I've yet to experience one myself. When I first started fly-fishing I fished the Davidson in N.C. quite a bit. I was always told of really good Green Drake hatches in late May. I have fished that river quite a bit in late May, and have seen one single Green Drake hatch. I don't mean a hatch of bugs, I mean one bug hatch. It got about 15 feet above the water and a bird quickly snatched it out of the air just like Byron described in the report today. People always told me how big the bugs were, but it didn't register until I actually saw one. It was huge, and I can imagine what a big hatch of those things would due to the fish. Hopefully someday I'll be fortunate enough to be out at just the right time and witness one of these hatches.


Jack M. 04-22-2008 12:32 PM

Green Drake nymphs are burrowers. They come out of the silt and are active before the duns hatch. Often, the trout gorge on the nymphs which leave them indifferent to the emerging duns. The spinnerfall of the glowing white coffin flies are an event worth seeing also. About an hour before dark, find a riffle on Abrams and look up into the sky. You may see a gathering cloud of the coffin flies that will slowly get closer and closer to the water. eventually, with just about a half hour of light remaining, they will start dropping to the surface, laying eggs and/or dying. If you are positioned downstream of the drop-zone, the action could be heavy. Trout seem to really like food that can't get away.

scflyfisher 04-22-2008 12:51 PM

Very interesting. I never knew that Jack, thanks for the info.


Jack M. 04-22-2008 01:27 PM

I don't think Byron & Paula will mind if I offer this link to a very effective GD nymph pattern that is sold on the banks of Penn's Creek in Central PA, literally world famous for its Green Drake Hatch:

ijsouth 04-22-2008 01:36 PM

I'm wondering if I saw a dun on Straight Fork Saturday was a very large mayfly, and it looked to be a very light, pale green. There were other, smaller mayflies that were a light-medium gray, bouncing on the surface dropping their eggs...the trout did not rise to any of them.

Jack M. 04-22-2008 01:55 PM

Here are images of the dun and a female spinner "coffin fly" that were captured on Abrams late April 2007:

You can tell this is a female because the males have large eyes to find the mate and a set of pincers at the base of the tail to hold on tight when they find her:

Jack M. 04-22-2008 07:33 PM

I should clarify that the "Green Drake" species Ephemera guttulata is a burrower. According to the "Match The Hatch" Tool at , two other mayfly species are also known as Green Drakes and they are "crawlers." That said, I believe the species in the Smokies creeks (Abrams) are Ephemera guttulata.

ijsouth 04-22-2008 08:50 PM

The spinner might have been the fly that I saw...but the light wasn't the best and I wasn't in a good position to try to catch it with my hand. It was good sized, least a #12, minimum.

ttas67 04-23-2008 12:27 AM

you may have saw a march brown. I grabbed one on cataloochee this weekend, about a size 10.

ijsouth 04-23-2008 12:57 AM

Very possible...there were also several smaller, light-gray flies buzzing over this one pool...I take it they were females, as they would bounce to the surface to drop eggs. I couldn't get a good look at them.

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