Green Drake Parachute

Flies With a Story


Flies With a Story #59: A spent-wing Green Drake parachute (AKA Pine Creek Special)

The Flytier:

Fred Bridge of York, Pennsylvania

Once a professional tier, now that Fred is retired he restricts his tying to flies for himself, friends and family.  Fred is an active supporter of a number of PA Trout Unlimited Chapters.  He enjoys presenting slide shows of trips to Yellowstone Country, New York's Salmon River, and New Zealand's North Island, to conservation and fishing groups.

Fred's E-mail:


See Fred's other Flies With a Story:
Green Drake Nymph
Fred's Weenies


The Fly:

Fred's spent-wing Green Drake Parachutes.  Recipe below story. Photo by Peter Frailey


The Story:

A Green Drake of Another Name (AKA Pine Creek Special)

In late May and early June fly fishermen in Pennsylvania start thinking Green Drake, especially on the many limestone streams in the central part of the state. I always plan a trip at the time to Yellow Creek, located in South Central Pennsylvania, about 30 to 40 minutes from the Breezewood exit of the Pennsylvania Turnpike. While the entire stream offers some great fishing, the delayed harvest, fly fishing only section is my favorite. Access only at the top and bottom requires a bit of a walk, there are fewer anglers, and lots of fish make it a worthwhile visit any time of the year.  But the chance to get trout taking big flies on the top really gets me excited.

On a recent May excursion, there were just enough drakes on the water during the morning and afternoon to make it interesting, while anticipating a feeding frenzy at dusk on the spinner fall - the Coffin Fly. But, though the fish were working during the day, finding the right fly was difficult.  It seemed that conventional Green Drake patterns were not working. Oh, the guys I was with were getting up an occasional fish, but a close inspection and refusal was most often the case.

I decided to try a drake-sized fly but in a parachute pattern, one that has worked well for me on other streams whenever large duns were flying. Tying on the fly, after trimming back the tippet so the fly wouldnít spin it into a mess, I made a couple false casts and dropped it about 3' in front of a feeding brown. Unfortunately, my cast was 2' to the right but before I could chastise myself, the brown moved over, came up without hesitation, and gulped the fly. In a couple of minutes, a nice fat 14" brown was to hand.

Iím not sure how many fish I missed, lost, and caught in the next two days, but I donít remember a single refusal. Every working fish I cast to rose to the fly and most slurped it in without hesitation. We never did get fish on the spinners. At dusk there were some spinners on the water and the fish were going crazy but taking #18 sulphurs. We had a ball.

-- Fred Bridge

Note: Some readers may think this fly and recipe is familiar, especially if they fish Lycoming and Potter Counties in North Central PA, and it should be, as you will find it referred to in that area as the Pine Creek Special


The Recipe:

Pine Creek Special

Photo by Peter Frailey

Hook: Mustad 79580, size 12 or 9671, size 10
Tail: Moose Mane or other stiff material
Body: Dubbing, dirty yellow brown
Post: White poly-yarn
Coachman Brown feathers, burned to shape and tied spent wing style
Hackle: Coachman Brown


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