Tomorrow is opening day for the fishing season in both Yellowstone National Park and Idaho. Unfortunately high water will probably severely limit fishing opportunities throughout the greater Yellowstone ecosystem. The best bet for some fishing will be the Henry’s Fork. Although it is very high, and the lower river has reduced visibility, large nymphs close to the banks ought to bring some angler success. I would stick with SJW’s, black woolly buggers, and rubberleg stonefly nymphs. Keep an eye out for a few salmonflies in the lower river as well.
Let’s continue with some flies that we could be tying this holiday weekend.
Number 10- Green Drake cripple #12. Similar to the gray drake, green drakes are critically important when they are present, but the window of fishing opportunity can be short lived. However, green drakes are more widely distributed throughout the Greater Yellowstone region, with good and dependable hatches every season. My favorite rivers for finding these large bugs are: the Lower henry’s Fork in mid June, Yellowstone in the Park in mid-July, Lamar River in early to mid-July, the Gallatin River in the Park in July, and ranch section of the H-Fork in late june. When these large mayflies are on the water, every trout in the river can be found sipping in these morsels. Although I tie this pattern for every mayfly in the Yellowstone area, and it is the first one I reach for, I decided that the Green Drake version was the single most important one to imitate with regards to our Top 10 list.
Start with a short tail(shuck) of brown/amber zelon. Follow this up with a body of olive rabbit dubbing, reverse wrapped with evenly spaced ribbing of yellow sewing thread or floss. A wing of gray to dark gray poly yarn or EP fiber, extending 45 degrees forward over the eye of the hook, gives this the imitation its distinctive “cripple” look. The wing is supported by 3 turns of dyed olive grizzly hackle in back of the wing and 2 turns in front. I then trim the hackle flat, even with the point of the hook, and you are ready to fish.
Green Drakes are my favorite insect emergence to find in the greater Yellowstone region. It can bring up some of the largest fish, and you cannot beat the size.
Good luck and tying.