Monday, October 20, 2008

Green Drakes.

The first "major" hatch I ever witnessed occured at Penns Creek, PA during the annual May-June Green Drake Fest. I fished the area exactly a year before but my buddy and I were off the water before the spinner fall. We had fished since 6 a.m. and caught plenty of fish, and it was interesting to see the looks of fellow fisherman who had just arrived as we made our way back to our van. We feasted on peanut butter and jelly, our first meal of the day, while other fisherman fished for rising brown trout yards away. I don't know what we were thinking but our time would come.

A Male Resting Before the Big Show

Our time came exactly a year later. We arrived at Penns in the afternoon and promptly got on the river near a one of its larger tributaries. We walked and fished our way downstream until finally we reached a spot that looked worthy. Some older fisherman were already hunkered down, so we settled for the tail end of one of the larger pools. We were still miles upstream from the main stem of the hatch and thousands of other visiting anglers. However, the action would still be intense as evidenced by the amount of Drakes buzzing like hummingbirds all along the streamside. While we waited for the action to begin, photography time was in session.


A Close Up Encounter.

Graphite Weave.

This female's tails were four inches long.

Around 7:30 p.m. the Drakes began emerging from their hideouts and hovered, gliding up and down near the tree tops. They looked like mini-helicopters coming in to land, only to decide that something wasn't right, and pull up at the last minute. As the time passed, their descents became lower and lower and males and females converged dancing the tango above our heads. Around this time, the trout emerged from their lairs in the deep water and began rising all around us to Sulphers. Some rose mere feet away, seemingly oblivious to our existence. We simply picked a riser and hoped that our imitation would suffice. Surprisingly, it took us awhile before the action picked up. As dusk settled in, we started to have some luck. We missed several nice fish due to our increased excitement and nerves. The trout were feasting as the first Green Drakes began to hit the water.

A Superfine Female.


With the action increasing I zeroed in on a feeding fish along the bank. Their was a ball of roots protruding into the water at the base of the bank. This fish was inches from the shore. I had no idea if it was a trout, chub, or rock bass but I decided to give her a try. After several near takes, the fish rose and gently took my fly. Setting the hook, the fish arched into the current and peeled off yards of line. This was a trout, and a nice one at that. After several deep runs, the trout came to hand. The hen was a thick sixteen inches, the largest trout I ever caught out of Penns and my first during the epic Green Drake hatch. Several more trout would come to hand before darkness settled in, none matching the elegance or strength of the first.

Cork Lust.


With darkness setting in, a sound approached in the distance. It resembled a howling wind and the tapping of rain on a window pane. Having never witnessed it before, I was shocked to discover its origin. Shining my headlamp over the stream, the main swarm of Drakes made its way upstream releasing their eggs as they went. The sheer numbers infront of us cannot truly be described with words. Every fly fisherman needs to experience it in order to fully appreciate it. However, the moment could not last. The Drakes soon perished, falling to their watery grave and the mercy of hungry trout. Others, clung on to my clothing and face possibly attracted to the light at the end of the tunnel. It made for some interesting pictures as we listened to the trout gorge themselves on the dead spinners on the water. It was calming to stand in the darkness and listen to the sound of water running between your legs. The walk back to the truck ended my first Green Drake experience on Penns and marked the beginning of a new era and respect for the wonders found on this truly magnificent stream.

No comments: