Return of the Drake

If this wasn’t a fly fishing blog, you might think this post was about our fellow Canadian rapper/musician who shares the same name. Come to think of it, the title of his hit song Started From The Bottom is surprisingly appropriate for the topic at hand. Maybe he was thinking about aquatic insect hatches when he wrote it… or, maybe not.

Of course, I’m referring to mayflies here, the Green Drake specifically. If you fly fish the upper Credit River, you probably know that the Green Drake has been going through a rough time. Once a prolific and highly anticipated mayfly hatch on the Credit, it underwent a rapid decline in the past couple decades and had all but disappeared. Dr. Henry Frania, an entomologist with the Royal Ontario Museum, has been studying the Green Drake issues for many years and rather than reiterate his findings, you’re better off Googling it yourself. Essentially, it had been found likely that the nymphs were dying due to ingestion of a toxic substance (chemical or organic). As a result, very few nymphs were reaching the adult stage, leading to the Green Drake being (for the most part) functionally extinct on most of the Credit River.

Fast forward to 2016 where (as I indicated in my previous post) the season started with some of the heaviest Hendrickson hatches seen in years. Blue Winged Olives were also in good numbers, followed by Sulphurs, Yellow Sallies and Gray Foxes. Next up was the infamous and ever-absent Green Drake. I was told they made a half decent showing in 2015 (relatively speaking), although I managed to miss them entirely. In serious need of a break from work and feeling optimistic with the number of bugs so far this year, I took a few days off in hopes of witnessing some of these giant mayflies. As it turned out, the weather and timing were perfect and I was able to spend three evenings among what was possibly the largest showing of Green Drakes since their decline many years ago.

A slightly beat-up Green Drake Dun from the Upper Credit River

A slightly beat-up Green Drake Dun from the Upper Credit River

Continue reading

A Change of Scenery

I don’t often travel too far from home to fish, but the constant reminder of local river politics and declining conditions has given me the itch to fish elsewhere lately. So, a couple weeks ago, I ventured out for an evening of fishing with a friend.

We drove for a couple hours to a river that has been on my short list of must-visit spots for this season. I hadn’t been on this particular river in over a decade and never to the section we were heading to. The water here was stunning… a great combination of riffles, runs and pools with lots of depth and variety. It was some of the fishiest looking water I’d seen in a long time. Unfortunately though, as the temperature continued to drop, the conditions were not quite ideal. A few Isonychia duns could be seen flying about during the early evening and eventually, as the daylight dwindled, they were replaced by a moderate number of spinners and a few stoneflies.

This was a last minute trip and I’d been slacking on replenishing my fly boxes once again, so I was pretty low on fly selection. When my limited number of Isonychia patterns weren’t doing the trick, I decided to try a small yellow sally stimulator, as I’d seen a few flying around. I spotted what appeared to be an average fish rising in some slow water on the other side of a seam and I presented my fly slightly upstream with enough slack to drift over the fish before drag set in. The gulp that followed was shocking.

An unexpected, colourful 22" brown trout to finish off the evening.

An unexpected, colourful 22″ brown trout to finish off the evening.

Continue reading