On the fly: It’s drake time
June 15, 2012
BASALT – The most heralded and anticipated hatch on our local rivers is that of the green drake mayfly. The green drake is the largest common mayfly specie found in Colorado. Due to their large size and abundance, this is one of the few hatches that bring even the normally lethargic big fish to the surface to gorge. This is a truly special and short-lived event on the Roaring Fork and Colorado rivers that should not to be missed. While green drakes hatch on the Fryingpan River from the middle of July through September, on the Roaring Fork and Colorado rivers, this hatch lasts for a matter of only two to three weeks. Another difference to keep in mind is that green drakes hatch midday on the Fryingpan and in the last hour or two of daylight in the evenings on the Roaring Fork and Colorado.We generally see multiple “waves” of drakes that push up the river beginning on the lower elevations of river and eventually peaking along the upper elevations. Currently, the main wave of green drakes is being seen below Carbondale on the Roaring Fork. Prior to the hatch coming off, anglers will want to focus on nymphing green drake patterns like 20-inchers, poxyback drakes and winged drake emergers in the pocket water, riffles and deep seams. As the hatch progresses in the wee hours of daylight, green drake adults will be seen flying around in the air and riding the waves on the water’s surface. At this time, tandem dry fly rigs are best.Because this hatch takes place as the sun is setting, it is often hard to see your flies. We often will use a highly visible, impressionistic drake pattern like a royal Wulff or an H&L variant to act as a beacon or bobber. We will then tie on a more exact and less visible imitation like a sparkledun drake or cripple drake about 18 inches below the first fly.A few key points to lead you to success should include the following: Stay out on the river late, pack a headlamp, and bring plenty of dry shake fly floatant. If you have the ability to float the river, this is your best option as you’ll get to cover miles of river, allowing you to certainly hit the hatch. This is the best fishing of the entire year on the Roaring Fork and Colorado rivers. With this being a low-water year, this could very well be the best drake fishing that we’ve seen in over a decade.
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 taylorcreek.com.