Fishing Green Drakes In The Roaring Fork Valley – Part 3
Fishing pocket water often produces higher numbers of fish especially after the fish have been worked over by numerous others in the previous days or weeks. Dry/dropper drake rigs are highly effective on the Frying Pan. Stalcup’s Winged Emerger is the guide favorite as a dropper pattern. Again, Green Drakes are mediocre swimmers and clumsy fliers, which is why emerger patterns are so effective. Cripple patterns also are great flies for the tricky fish of the Frying Pan. Sparsely tied patterns often become a guide staple in the later stages of the drake hatch. CDC Thorax and Cripple patterns tied with large wings and sparse bodies become the rule. Many seasoned Frying Pan guides use double dry fly rigs loaded with a drake pattern trailed by a PMD pattern. PMD’s are still in high numbers at this time of year. Concentrate on fishing and casting to individual rising fish instead of putting your flies through the middle of a pod or group of fish. Take some time to sit on the bank and watch if the fish are feeding on drakes, PMD’s, caddis, or bwo’s. Compound hatches can make the fishing tough for those unwilling to experiment with flies. Overcast days can make the drake hatch last for hours on end, while bright sunny skies will shorten the duration of the hatch. September is also a superb time of year. Crowds are lighter as school is back in session and most anglers are back to working the grindstone. The drake hatch is a little lighter though still plentiful.
During the middle of September through October, “Flavs” make their appearance. This size #14 drake cousin looks identical to its larger counterparts and is imitated with the same flies though in a smaller size. A ritual among our staff is to catch a fish on a Green Drake on Halloween night. And yes, they are always good for a fish or two!
In closing remember this. On the Roaring Fork and Colorado generally the drakes hatch at dusk, while the drakes on the Frying Pan hatch at noon. Late June through July are best on the Roaring Fork and Colorado, while August and early September are the prime times on the Frying Pan and upper Roaring Fork. If you want the opportunity (and who doesn’t?) to fish size 10 – 14 dry flies to numbers of rising fish for weeks and even months on end, the Roaring Fork Valley is truly a fisherman’s paradise. Local river rats and dry fly junkies often fish the drake hatch on the Pan from noon to three pm, then take a nap and hit the drake hatch on the Fork from 7pm to dark. The Roaring Fork Valley also encompasses the most miles of Gold Medal Water in the state as designated by the Division of Wildlife. So, not only are the hatches superb, but the size and quantities of fish are equally superb. This is the only hatch that makes even the big fish come to the surface to feed. Rainbows of 18”- 22” inches are common on all rivers, with fish of over 5 pounds being possible to engulf the mighty Green Drake!