Why you should care about Green Drakes
The Green Drake, also known as Ephemera Guttulata, is a large mayfly that hatches in many streams in the west and on our local rivers here in Oregon. This hatch sometimes get lost in the shadow of the famed Stonefly Hatch on the Deschutes, but this is a hatch you will want to have some knowledge on whenever you’re going out to your favorite trout stream this summer. There are both green and gray drakes in Oregon and they are similar in size and appearance, just differ in overall color. Just like most mayflies, these bugs love to get active and hatch on cloudy, humid, rainy days. So if you start to see the clouds rolling in, get ready for the drakes to start popping!
These mayflies typically hatch in a size 10-14. They are big bugs and trout go crazy for them. Some of my favorite patterns include the GD film critic, green drake cripple, hair wing green drake, carnage green drake, and a parachute green drake. The film critic and cripple patterns sit vertically in the surface film representing a mayfly that is struggling to emerge. I typically fish this pattern early in the day before the hatch gets going. Once I start to see adults flying around is when I switch up to a parachute green drake to match the adult bug.
Green drakes will hatch in all types of water, but will typically hatch the strongest in riffles. The Metolius River gets a fantastic green drake hatch that typically peaks in June but can happen in the last two weeks of May as well. This is a river that requires a little know how and skill to be successful, but this hatch brings out the stupid in these trout. In my 6 years of consistently fishing this river, this is the one time a year where the trout get a little dumb and your perfect presentation, fly pattern and tippet size don’t matter quite as much as these fish gorge themselves with reckless abandon.
The Lower Deschutes gets a Green Drake hatch around the same time frame as the Met. Late May and most of June whenever the weather is right. Again if you can find a cloudy and humid day in May or June even if you think you should be fishing salmonfly dries, don’t hesitate to tie on a green drake, especially if you start to see them flying around. A chubby with a dropper GD film critic is a good double dry setup in May and June on the Lower D.