Green Drake Nymph
Flies With a Story

Fly Tied By: Fred Bridge
Recipe By: Fred Bridge
Story By: Fred Bridge
Home: York, Pennsylvania

See Fred's other stories:
Fred's Weenies

Green Drake Parachute

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.





Hook: Size 10, Mustad 9671 or equal
Thread: Cream
Weight: .015 lead wire
Tail: Woodduck flank fibers
Body: Cream colored fur
Rib: Gold wire
Thorax: Cream colored fur, picked out
Wing Case: Woodduck flank
Legs: Woodduck flank

Materials note: Lemon-dyed mallard flank works just as well as natural Woodduck. I use a yarn underbody to save time and fur as this fly has a very full body; but this is the tier's choice as is using a dubbing loop. For the fur I use rabbit fur including guard hair.


Tying Procedure:
  1. Cover shank with thread and wrap 12 turns of .015 lead around middle section of hook shank.
  2. Tie in 8-10 woodduck flank fibers for tail. Tail should be about ˝ length of shank.
  3. Optional step: Wrap cigar shaped yarn underbody. Stop at least 1/8" behind eye of hook. It is important you do not crowd head space as you will need it for final wing case and leg tying steps.
  4. Tie in gold wire for ribbing.
  5. Dub nice full body to barely past midpoint of shank.
  6. Rib body with gold wire and tie off wire.
  7. Select a Woodduck flank feather 1" to 1-1/4" wide. Place feather with concave side up and butt pointing over eye of hook. Tie in at end of body with 3-4 medium tight wraps of thread. Keeping feather on top of shank, grasp butt and gently pull feather until length of fibers extending behind the tie down point is long enough to pull forward for wing case and fold back for legs. Now tie feather down tight to shank and trim butt.
  8. Dub a very full thorax and brush or pick out on sides and bottom so it is very fuzzy.
  9. Grasp woodduck fibers extending over body and pull forward over thorax creating the wing case. Tie down with 4-5 very tight wraps of thread just in front of thorax.
  10. You will now have woodduck fibers extending out over eye of hook. Separating them roughly in half, pull the fibers back along the sides of the thorax and tie down. Fibers should point toward rear of hook but extend slightly out to the side.
  11. Form a nice conspicuous head and whip finish. Apply head cement if you wish.


The Story:

"...Searching through my fly boxes... I spied a large, very buggy, cream colored nymph...."

In early June of 2002, I made a three-day visit to Yellow Creek in Bedford County, PA, with three York County fly fishing friends (Yes, this Retired Old Fart does have a few friends). Yellow Creek is a "limestoner" with trout in both quantity and quality, and some prolific hatches not the least of which is the Green Drake. Yellow Creek has a Delayed Harvest (DH) Fly-Fishing Only stretch of water, but the entire stream holds nice fish all year round.

The first morning we were fishing the bottom of the DH area. Early on Peter Frailey’s Hare & Herl Bugger fished on a deep swing was pounding fish but as the sun rose and burned off the early morning haze things really slowed down.

Searching through my fly boxes (I carry too many, as most of us do), I spied a large, very buggy, cream colored nymph that had taken some big browns on Spruce Creek (Centre County, PA) about four years ago. My brother-in-law, the late Russ Mowry from Latrobe, had been a member of Spruce Creek Rod and Gun Club. He had given me a sample and told me to be sure to have some when I met him on Spruce Creek, as the fly was especially good just prior to, during, and just after the Green Drake hatch. It had accounted for a number of fish then, included a fat brown just over 22".

I had not fished the fly since that last Spruce Creek trip but figured "what the heck", Russ said it worked, it had produced then, so why not give it a try.

Working out some line, I made a cast toward the far bank, mended the line to get a deep drift, turned my head to say something to one of my buddies, and almost missed seeing the strike indicator jump about a foot. With strictly a reflex reaction, I raised the tip and was fast to a decent fish and quickly brought to hand a rainbow of about 14". Two casts later, a repeat of the indicator really jumping but this time a fat brown.

During the next hour and a half, 12 to 15 browns and bows were brought to hand with the largest about 17". I broke off another fish, broke off on a submerged rock or log, lost a fly to an overly aggressive cast to the far bank that landed in a branch about 6’ above the surface, and then snagged up on something solid on the bottom. Neither shifting position, popping the line, nor aggressive pulls worked, and then the tippet parted.

I went through all my fly boxes and "there weren’t no more." Bemoaning my fate, I tried many other nymphs but to no avail. Finally, fish began to work on the surface and I rigged up to fish another of Russ’ creations, the spent wing parachute Pine Creek Special that had given me some fantastic dry fly fishing on Yellow Creek the previous year. But, that is another story. (My fly box now has an ample supply of Green Drake nymphs).

--Fred Bridge


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