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Freestone Fly Tying Series - Green Drake

Hello again folks, my apologies for missing last week, the holidays were in full swing and I just couldn't sneak away! But we're back to business and just about to ring in a new year, and my what big plans we have for 2018. Which leads me to this weeks fly, a deadly dry pattern that will having trout slurping at your feet in minutes! That is, the Green Drake, a fly that I personally tied/used for the first time while fishing for Westslope Cutthroat in the East Kootenays this past summer. What a blast! And this fly pattern was absolutely on fire. We were getting hit after hit, and watching the hunkered down cutties come out from behind their boulders and attack our flies was something i'll never forget. Needless to say, we'll be back this year!

Okay, on to the pattern. This pattern is fairly easy to tie, with the only somewhat difficult part splitting the deer hair and posting them up for the wings. Deer hair is an enemy of mine, its messy, finicky, sticky, and just downright misbehaves. That being said, its a helluva material for dry fly patterns and the Green Drake is no different. I also like tying this fly in black, blue dun, and orange, but the green is definitely my favourite. 

Material List

Hook: Size 12-16 Standard Dry Fly Hook
Thread: 8/0 Light Olive Uni-Thread
Wing: Natural Deer Hair
Tail: Black Pheasant Tail
Rib: Chartreuse Wire (Small)
Body: Light Olive Arizona Simi-Seal Dub
Hackle: Natural Grizzly Hackle
Firstly, start your thread roughly 3/4 of the way up the shank of the hook, lay down a thread base to the eye and come back approximately one hook-eye length (this is going to give you room to wrap your hackle in front of the deer hair wings at the very end). Next, get a decent bundle of deer hair (make sure to tease out those soft underfur fibers), fire it into your stacker, and tie them tips forward. Secure in place and cut off the ends.
This is probably the most challenging part of this fly, posting up the wings. You'll want to grab a bodkin and try to split the clump of deer hair in half. Once you've done that, complete some figure-8 wrap to fully separate the wings. Next, start wrapping the thread around each clump individually making a post and "standing up" the deer hair. It's hard to see from the profile view in my example, but you get the idea. Finally, secure it all down and even out the lumps and bumps with a few thread wraps.
We're going to tie in the tail and body rib now. I use pheasant tail for the tail on my drakes, but I know a lot of other anglers use moose hair, either or makes a nice tail for these flies and I usually go with either a dark brown, black, or natural for the colour. Now, I use a wire rib, I have used a tinsel or flashabou strand in the past, but the wire (especially for this pattern) helps with the longevity of the fly. 
Let's get a dubbing noodle going now. As I've stated in other posts, I really like using Arizona Simi Seal dubs, and for this fly I went with a light olive. Being rather sparse with the dubbing is probably a good idea, making sure your wraps are nice and tights leading up to a nice tapered body. Make sure you don't dub all the way to the wings, leave some room to tie in and start your hackle wraps (I usually like to have room enough for at least 3 wraps of hackle behind the wings).
Using a quality piece of hackle will make this fly. If you have some friends that tie as well, it's a great idea to go in on a cape of nice hackle (or even a half cape!). Mike and myself asked our local fly shop to chop a couple capes in half for us, and it was definitely worth the investment to get some decent hackle into our flies! Tie in your hackle with the "shiny" side of the hackle facing the eye of the hook. It's always a good idea to strip off a few more fibers off the stem to get that hackle laying down nicely. I usually shoot for 3-4 wraps in behind and in front of the wings, being sure to leave some room for a bit of head. Now, ideally your hackle fiber length is equal to the length of your deer hair wings. You can achieve this by sizing your hackle and matching the deer hair wings in the very first step of this fly. I eye-balled it and was a little off the mark! 
The finished product, a solid dry fly that will guarantee some surface action. Always get a bit of head cement after whip-finishing, I'm always doing my best to increase the longevity of my flies. Whatever I can do to secure material down, add a spot of cement here or there, i'll do it, because I want my flies to last and keep catching fish! That's one of the great things about tying flies yourself, you can make sure it's not just going to fall apart after the first fish! Again, tie this pattern up in a black, or blue dun and you'll find success with them as well. I know i'll be filling up a fly box this winter, dreaming about those warm summer mornings!
See you in 2018! Tight Lines

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