Green Drake season (Hex Hatches)
June 28, 2018 – It’s the end of June and the time of season when canoes left upside down along shores of remote trout ponds are flipped over, cleared of debris and made ready for drake season. Pond fishermen come out of the woodwork anticipating the main event of the season on our remote, wild trout ponds. It’s time for the biggest bug banquet of the season to get underway. It’s an all you can eat cheese bugger size mayfly buffet. To get in on this food fest you’ll need to baby setting your favorite spots. The first thing you want to do once your canoe is ready is have a look along the windy shoreline for shucks of a hatch that may have happened the night before. If you find lots of shucks the hatch is full swing. No shucks and you can expect a drake hatch could start any day now. The first night of the hatch will be magical. The biggest fish in the pond will be cruising just below the surface searching for adult drakes. Lay out anything that remotely resembles this monster mayfly and they’ll eat it! What great fun hunting cruising trout as they eat every mayfly they find. Spot a trout cruising down a shoreline, drop your bug 10 to 20 feet ahead of the fish, give it a twitch and he’ll find it and inhale it. If you have the good fortune to be there the first night of a hatch, when big brookies are making pigs of themselves, you’ll never stop talking about it.
There are lots of imitations around that will do the job. The adult drakes are mainly a yellow/brown color but also can be all gray and even pale yellow or green. It’s smart to have all the different colors in size 8 just in case. Also big Wulffs fool a lot of trout searching for an easy meal.
The first night is unforgetable. It probably won’t be a massive hatch but there are just enough bugs on the water to get fish cranked up and looking for anything big to grab. You won’t miss many strikes because fish are hungry and inhaling everything. You can do no wrong on the first night. The second night will be almost as good as the first. There will be a lot more drakes hatching so your bug will be competing with the real McCoy and you will probably need to match the hatch a little better than the first night. By night three fish begin getting fussy. They have pigged out twice and aren’t as desperate for a meal as previous evenings. Instead of grabbing everything in sight fish key in on cripples floundering around on the surface or stop taking the dries altogether and fancy the drake nymph just below the surface where they don’t have to work nearly as hard for a meal. If you see swirls where there isn’t a dry on the surface they are after the nymph.
A good hex nymph is just as important as the dries. One called the Maple Syrup has fooled lots of brookies over the years. It’s a very simple fly to tie with a tan chenille body and yellow calf hair as the tail. Tied on a size 8 streamer hook, it imitates the real nymph extremely well. Replace your dry with the nymph, lay it out there, let it sink just below the surface then begin gently twitching it in and get ready.
Take your flashlight along because you’ll be staying till the end. The Hex hatches begin right around sunset. Hatches will continue every evening for just about a week on any given pond, sometimes longer.
While your waiting around for the hatch to begin string up your sinking line with a hex nymph so you can pull a nymph along the bottom. You should find fish cruising around looking for an early meal long before the actual hatch begins. As soon as drakes begin showing put the sinking line away and go with a dry fly.
This is the time of season hardcore pond fisherman wait for all year. The big boys are prowling about, fattening up on the last mayfly hatches of the season, before they retreat to cooler water in spring holes where they stay through the heat of summer.
One tip before you start casting those huge flies. Put away the 4,5 & 6X leaders and use a 3X. Ever have the leader twist all up when you fish big dries? That’s because you are still using the light leader you had on for small flies. A heavier, stiffer leader will control bigger flies that are not in the least bit aerodynamic, and stop them from corkscrewing during the cast. Brook trout aren’t very leader shy and don’t care that the leader is 3X. You’ll be glad you did, especially when one of those big trout grabs your bug and heads for the other end of the pond.