Green Drake Alert! | Roaring Fork Summer Dry Fly Fishing

Green Drake Alert! | Roaring Fork Summer Dry Fly Fishing

Low and clear water in the Middle of June means one thing…DRY FLY MANIA! Happy to report that the fishing in the Roaring Fork Valley is on fire and not the surrounding areas!

This is definitely going to be the year of the dry statewide! With the warmer summer we are having and the water conditions, hatches are  coming about a month earlier than normal so don’t let this opportunity pass you to get out and fish something other than an indicator!

Over the Last few high water years, we have become so accustomed to nymphing that we have lost touch with the dries we should be fishing.  We all know a few Yellow Sally, PMD or Drake nymphs, but how about the adult versions of these bugs?

This report will help you identify each insect, help you select the right dry & know where to expect these hatches.

Green Drake Alert!

The Green Drake is the biggest of the mayflies we have in Colorado and one of our favorite hatches to fish!  Who doesn’t like fishing a giant dry that brings nearly every nose in the river to the surface?

The last couple of years and this year, we have seen sporadic Green Drakes on the South Platte near Deckers in the last hour or so of daylight. Reports of Drakes also coming in on the lower Blue River & lower Taylor River.   In the Roaring Fork Valley, Drakes have already moved up the river from Glenwood to Basalt and fish are looking for them! The hatch will soon start to work it’s way up the frying pan as well.   Through the day you can expect to hit fish on dries, but the famous Roaring Fork “lightning round” just before dark is one of the best experiences you can have with a fly rod in your hand.  Once you can’t see your fly anymore, just chuck it out there, throw a mend and hold on tight.  You will feel and/or hear when the fish takes your fly!

Green Drake Patterns to Have in Colorado

#10-12 Umpqua Green Drake





#12 Mercer’s Profile Green Drake
#10-12 Hairwing Green Drake















Montana Fly Carnage Green Drake








Pale Morning Duns (PMDs)

PMD’s are showing up statewide and bringing fish up! PMD’s can be a frustrating “masking hatch.”  If you see Drakes, Caddis & Sallies everywhere and fishing rising but not eating these bigger offerings, what do you do?  Pay attention to the water surface, if you see PMD Spinners, assume that is the masking hatch. Although smaller in size, the dad spinners move lifeless along the water surface and are easy meals for trout.  Running down a yellow sally, caddis or drake is more work for the fish.

This past week, Jeremy had a great guide trip on the South Platte near Trumble fishing PMD dries.  The report from Jeremy was a #18 Hackle stacker and a #18 Rusty Spinner.  Also good reports of PMD’s coming off on the Roaring Fork and middle to lower sections of the Frying Pan from Brandon Soucie.   #16-18 PMD Parawulffs are getting it done in the Roaring Fork Valley.  Just before fish start rising in the AM and late PM, be sure to fish a PMD emerger of some sort. Once you see spinners, returning to the water tie on a rusty spinner 16-20 depending on size.  Our favorite PMD emerger patterns are the #16-18 Half Back PMD Emerger, #16-18 Sparkle Emerger & #16-20 Juju PMD.

Recommended PMD Dries for Colorado…

#16-18 Furimsky’s B.D.E PMD

#16-18 Hackle Stacker PMD




#16-20 CDC Biot Spinner in PMD or Rusty

Got Hoppers?

The hopper bite is by no means in full swing, but we have been fishing a lot of hopper dropper rigs this summer and have had plenty of fish come up and eat the hopper.  This goes for the Roaring Fork, Colorado, S. Platte & Arkansas to name a few. Expect the hopper bight to be in full swing by mid July.

Hoppers to Have This Summer

Umpqua’s Double Dutch Hopper NEW!!!

Montana Fly Company Flexi-Girdle Bug. What could be better than a floating rubberlegs?

Montana Fly Foam PMX. Floats like a cork and catches fish!

Montana Fly Carnage Hopper. Our New Favorite Hopper!

Yellow Sallies & Caddis

The caddis hatch has certainly reached it’s peak throughout the state, but you will see lingering caddis for the rest of the summer.  Yellow sallies, often mistaken as caddis by fishermen and fish are showing up in good numbers through the state. Expect caddis and sallies on the Colorado, Eagle, Roaring Fork, Lower Frying Pan….and about everywhere else you could think of.

Yellow Sally Dries…


#14-16 Outrigger Yellow Sally








#14-16 Henry’s Fork Sally








#14-16 Yellow Crystal Stimulator






Caddis Dries….

14-16 Puterbaugh Caddis Black, Tan & Olive







14-16 Fluttering Caddis…our new favorite skater!

It’s time to nail down your 2024 fly fishing trip with Minturn Anglers.

About the Author

Justin Nolan

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