The Brown Drakes

Flies With a StoryHenry's Fork Flies


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Cropped and resized from a larger image by Ian G. Forbes

Part II of Eric Austin's "Henry's Fork Flies":  The Brown Drakes

The drama that unfolds during the evening Brown Drake hatch below Osborne Bridge on the Henry’s Fork is something that every fly fisherman should experience at least once. It starts with fly fishermen posted at various intervals up and down the river, most not casting, just waiting. Then, about a quarter mile upstream, you see a little sailboat coming. Then there’s another, then another. Then a rise, then another rise. Things build slowly, and you start casting over sporadic rises. Soon you’re focusing on one fish, rising with regularity, and big Brown Drakes are parading down the river by the hundreds. You’re a nervous wreck. He takes your Cripple, and you’ve got a 20", powerful, wild Rainbow on the end of your line, heading for deep water like a freight train. It truly does not get any better than this. You’ve managed to hook one of these muscular titans, now you’ve got to land him. What a blast!

I’ve experienced this hatch now a couple of times, and this year have tied up quite a few big Brown Drake patterns, and should be completely ready. Of course, you’re never really ready for these fish. Here are some patterns I’ll be using this June.

--Eric Austin


Brown Drake Nymph

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Hook: TMC 200R # 10 or Mustad 9672 # 12
Thread: Tan
Tail: Partridge, ˝ the body length
Ribbing: Copper Wire
Back: Oak Turkey or Scud Back
Abdomen: Tannish Yellow dubbing
Gills: Yellow CDC or Ostrich
Thorax: Red Fox Squirrel dubbing mixed with Tannish Yellow, thickly dubbed.
Wing Case: Dark Turkey, epoxied
Legs: Partridge

Note: I found this pattern in a fly shop, and it appears to be loosely based on the Mike Mercer series of ‘poxy-back nymphs.

Brown Drake Emerger

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Hook: #10 TMC5212
Thread: Tan
Wood Duck, body length
Tannish Yellow turkey biot
Thorax: Thickly dubbed Tannish Yellow dubbing
Hackle: Brown Partridge
Wings: Two light dun CDC feathers, laid back, back to back.

Note: This is an emerger pattern sent to me by House of Harrop

Brown Drake Cripple

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Hook: #10 TMC5212
Thread: Tan
Wood Duck with rusty z-lon over half, sparse
Body: Tannish Yellow Turkey Biot
Thickly dubbed Tannish Yellow dubbing
Wing: CDC
Hackle: Tannish Yellow dyed Grizzly

Note: This pattern is from a Brown Drake Cripple sent to me by House of Harrop.

Brown Drake Dun

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Hook: #12 Dry Fly TMC100 or Mustad 94840
Wing: Partridge, two feathers with concave sides together
Extended body: Wood Duck
Abdomen: Alternating yellow and brown quills
Thorax: Thickly dubbed Tannish Yellow dubbing
Hackle: Ginger, tied thorax style, clipped on the bottom

Note: This pattern is based loosely on Mike Lawson’s extended body Green Drake.

Brown Drake Spinner

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Hook: #10 TMC5212
Tail: 3 Moose body hair fibers, splayed
Tan turkey biot
: Thickly dubbed Tannish Yellow dubbing
Wings: Brown Partridge
Hackle: Grizzly

Note: This pattern is taken from a Brown Drake Spinner sent to me by House of Harrup.



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