Deep Dish Green Drake Nymph

A Beefy Bug

Photo from
I remember the first time I ever saw a Green Drake nymph while seining a local small stream. I thought, based on the juicy plumpness of the bug, any self-respecting trout would treat it like a comparable Porterhouse steak. Turns out, that's not too far from the truth, so I like to come to the river armed with a few beefy drake patterns to imitate these obese nymphs.

Before jumping into the tying part, it's good to understand what we're dealing with here. Cheech calls this #nerdalert. I call it getting to know what to feed the fish.

The Green Drake or Western Green Drake is part of the Ephemerellidae family and is an oft-pursued "destination" hatch on many waters in the West, including the famed Henry's Fork in Idaho. Like their cousins, the more common Pale Morning Dun (PMD), Drakes are crawlers, which account for the super-buff Arnold Schwarzenegger-esque legs. You'll also find another smaller Drake species in the Drunella genus, commonly known as Flavs or Lesser Green Drakes. They too can be imitated along the same lines here and this pattern was designed to handle both. Simply adjusting the size up or down will cover the bases on both bugs.

Deep Dish Green Drake
With any pattern, there's always a balance of tying difficulty, imitation and usefulness. So I usually decide, mostly through trial and error, what constitutes a must-have feature on a fly based on these three aspects. With the Deep Dish, it's a bit more involved than say the piece-of-cake Dubbing Emerger which could be turned into a drake by simply varying colors, but isn't so crazy that you're having to tie in three sets of perfectly matching legs.

But all in all, this is actually a fun pattern to tie and it's really not too difficult. Give it a try. We've also included a couple of variations to handle darker or lighter nymphs. I normally carry a darker version because the nymphs are often very dark green, bordering black. So it's good to have both flavors here....

Olive (Light)

Hook: Daiichi 1530, #12 (+)
Thread: Danville 70 Denier, Peacock Green (+)
Under-Body: .020 Lead Free Wire (+)
Bead: Mayfly Nymph-Head, Clinger & Crawler, Small, Olive (+)
Tail/Body: Pheasant Tail, Dyed Olive  (+)
Ribbing: UTC Ultra Wire, Olive, Small (+)
Thorax: Hare'e Ice Dub, Olive Brown or Peacock (+)
Legs: Dyed Hungarian Partridge, Olive (+)
Wing Case: Fino Skin, Brown (+)
Back Stripe: UNI Double Sided Mylar, Orange/Peacock #16 (+)

NOTE: For a bigger bug, go with a #10 hook and the medium sized Nymph-Head, #8 would be the large sized Nymph-Head

Other Tools, materials:
Loon UV Fluorescing Clear Fly Finish (+)

Black (Dark)

Hook: Daiichi 1530, #12 (+)
Thread: Danville 70 Denier, Black (+)
Under-Body: .020 Lead Free Wire (+)
Bead: Mayfly Nymph-Head, Clinger & Crawler, Small, Black (+)
Tail/Body: Pheasant Tail, Dyed Black (+)
Ribbing: UTC Ultra Wire, Black, Small (+)
Thorax: Hare'e Ice Dub, Black (+)
Legs: Dyed Hungarian Partridge, Black (+)
Wing Case: Fino Skin, Black (+)
Back Stripe: UNI Double Sided Mylar, Orange/Peacock #16 (+)