Fishing report: The green drake cometh |

Fishing report: The green drake cometh

Kirk WebbSpecial to The Aspen TimesAspen, CO Colorado

BASALT – As the water levels gradually come down on our local rivers, the fishing quickly heats up in anticipation of our world-renowned green drake mayfly hatch.The green drake is the largest mayfly species in Colorado. This hatch is widely considered as “the” hatch for many fly anglers. Due to the large size of these insects, seemingly all fish in the river take immediate notice of their presence and, at times, the rivers literally froth with boiling fish.The green drake mayfly generally hatches in the evening hours along the Roaring Fork and Colorado rivers. Fishing guides commonly refer to the last hour of light as the power hour. This is when anglers will have their best shot at fishing to numbers of rising fish. Like most hatches in our valley, this one starts in the lower-elevation sections of river and gradually advances upstream and higher in elevation, eventually peaking out near Aspen on the Roaring Fork.A great way for anglers to hit this epic hatch is by floating the river from a drift boat or raft. This allows anglers to cover miles of river and hone in on the best fishing and heaviest hatches. Prior to the hatch, anglers will want to focus on nymphing green drake imitations in the soft pockets of water under a strike indicator with plenty of weight. My favorite sub-surface green drake patterns include 20-inchers, USD drakes, gilled drakes and winged drake emergers, all in size 12.Just as the sun begins to set and the light begins to fade is when we see the heaviest green drake hatches. The hatch will often last well into dark, so anglers will want to bring a headlamp to aid in tying on flies and hiking out along the river. Tandem dry fly setups are best at this time. I like to use a highly visible, impressionistic green drake imitation such as an Improved H&L variant or royal Wulff, trailed by a more exact and less visible imitation like a green drake cripple or sparkledun. When fishing under low light conditions, the variant or Wulff acts as a strike indicator for the less visible dropper pattern, which helps in detecting strikes.The best fishing of the year is quickly upon us, so don’t miss out on this exciting hatch.

This report is provided every week by Taylor Creek Fly Shops in Aspen and Basalt. Taylor Creek can be reached at (970) 927-4374 or

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