Green Drake Fly FIshing in Pennsylvania

Green Drake Leo Vensel

Kingdom Animalia (Animals)
  Phylum Arthropoda (Arthropods)
    Class Insecta (Insects)
      Order Ephemeroptera (Mayflies)
        Family Ephemeridae
          Genus Ephemera
            Species guttulata (Green Drake)

One of the most famous mayfly hatches in Pennsylvania and throughout the eastern United States is the Green Drake. We can speculate that it has to do with its large size. When hatching occurs, every fish small and large will feed on the surface for these big bugs.

In fact even the alpha trout that have converted to a diet of fish and crustaceans will feed on the Green Drake because the bugs are so big. Combine big bugs and low light for a winning combination that brings the entire fishery to symphony of feeding activity.

Yeah that’s why we like it.

Look for nymphs in slow moving silted areas, as the nymph is a burrower. Emergence occurs in the surface film typically at dusk and beyond. As with all mayflies, the Green Drake emerges as an immature adult (sub-imago or dun). It rides along the surface then flies off the water to molt in the trees and complete its metamorphosis as a mature adult (imago or spinner).

After a ballet-like mating flight performed over the water, the spinner dies on the water surface with wings splayed out (spent). This is the second round of surface feeding for the already gorged trout.

The angler willing to stay out later or return pre-dawn, is often rewarded with the largest trout delicately sipping stillborn and spent flies that have collected in the eddies.

Uniquely, the Green Drake emergence progresses upstream nightly. The peak emergence occurs upstream of the previous nights peak. Locals keep each other informed on upstream sightings for planning the next evenings fishing strategy. Also, similar to overall mayfly emergence progression geographically from southern to northern U.S. regions, the Green Drake emergence occurs earlier in southern Pennsylvania and progresses northward. Typically the progression from southern PA regions to northern spans a couple weeks of each other.

Pennsylvania offers many streams with populations of Green Drakes.

Popular Streams:
Penns Creek
Pine Creek
Delaware River

Popular Fly Patterns:
Green Drake Nymph
Cripple Emerger
Parachute Dun

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