Drakes -- Fripple Style

A very effective big bug style mayfly pattern

*Click here to buy the pre-tied flies. Tutorial with material list is below.

Based on the great success of the latest version of the Baetis flavored Fripple (see tutorial here), it stands to reason that the same effectiveness should translate to really any kind of mayfly -- big and small. A few weeks ago, we fished a stream that had some large gray drakes hatching and for which I was largely unprepared. Luckily, there was a lot of non-Drake bug action popping, so it didn't matter, but it got me to thinking about taking the Fripple to the next level.

There are only a couple of small tweaks to the original pattern in the form of deer hair substituted for the snowshoe hare toe fur and the addition of hackle to further aid in flotation as well as give a bigger footprint on the water. The butt still slices into the water and hangs there taunting the fish to eat it. I think that is very key to its effectiveness.

green drake fly patternAnyway, clinical trials began shortly thereafter and the results were really good. We sought out a river that was known for good Green Drake action and some decent sized Browns. The first part of the day was slow and although I didn't see any Drakes at the time, I decided to throw on my new Fripple. The first cast into a likely holding spot resulted in a slashing grab, but a miss. No fish actively rising and we got one to come up -- good sign. The next cast was fish on. No hesitation, just a big mouthful of drake. To prove it wasn't a fluke, I threw right back into the same little run and caught an even bigger fish a few minutes later.

green drake fly patternAt about the same time, the adult Drakes started to show up and the fish started staging to intercept so we could see more potential suitors sitting in the feeding lanes waiting for the buffet to pass by. After a few more fish, we decided to run a few tests comparing the Fripple against some other patterns. In one instance, a few casts of a good drake pattern was ignored 4 or 5 times perfectly placed over the feeding lane. "Your turn", Cheech informed me. My awesome casting skills on display, I placed the fly a good three feet to the right of the fish (blame the Euro-nymph leader I was too lazy to change). Nonetheless, on that errant cast, the fish glided out of his holding position and promptly engulfed the fly.

A few fish following that one, I had a similar situation where I twice, on two consecutive casts, pulled the fly out of the rising fish's mouth (I lost track of the fly as the sun was in my eyes...). But the 3rd cast, also quite errant but yet I was able to see the fly this time, resulted in a solid hook-up.

green drake fly pattern brown trout

Beyond the fact the fish really took to the pattern, it proved to be fairly durable. This is fly right at the point where the foam and deer hair had started to fall apart from being inhaled by numerous hungry fish.

So give it a try. Here's a quick tutorial to help out...

Material List
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Hook: Daiichi 1160 - Klinkhamer Hook - 10
Hot Spot: Danville Flat Waxed Nylon Thread - 70 Denier - Olive
Hot Spot: Danville Flat Waxed Nylon Thread - 70 Denier - Fl. Fire Orange
Thorax: Rainy's Evazote Foam - Olive - 3/16"
Ribbing: Veevus Holographic Tinsel - Green - Small
Wing: Medallion Sheeting - Buggy Light Dun
Over-Wing: Nature's Spirit All-Purpose Deer Hair - Olive
Hackle: Euro Saddle - Grizzly Dyed Dark Olive

Other tools from the tutorial:

Loon Fluorescing UV Clear Fly Finish
Stonfo Pinza Elite Hackle Pliers - Standard