Upside Down Green Drake

Upside Down Green Drake

This is one of my favorite patterns to match green drake adults. It’s pretty versatile and works well for me in riffled and flat waters. I like a little bigger fly for rougher water, but when the fish are sipping drakes in a favorite tailout, this one gets the job done.

Two things really stand out on this fly. First is the profile it presents to fish—it sits just like the real ones and has a killer silhouette. Second, it consistently rides wing-up on almost every landing. The fly is tied so that it won’t tip over on its side once it lands.

When the fish are keying on fully emerged perfect duns, that trait pays off. And, when the fish have a chance to really look over your pattern (think Henry’s Fork) this pattern can be the deciding factor between rejections and takes. This really is a great picky fish pattern. If you are getting refusals on a bigger, bushy green drake pattern switch to the Upside Down Green Drake and see what happens. I’ve always liked the results.



Hook: Dai Riki #* 270

Thread: 6/0 Uni dark brown

Hackle: Whiting bugger pack Grizzly & Olive

Wing: Dark Deer hair

Tail: Black Buck tail

Body: Light Olive Buck tail

Dubbing: Hares ear ice dub Tan


Hey guys. Tyler at North 40 in Coeur d'Alene. We're doing a three-part series on Green Drake, and we're going to tie the inverted Green Drake adult here. It's a hairwing fly, kind of one of my favorite flies. It looks great in the water. Fishes very, very well. The way it's tied in that inverted style, it lands almost perfect every time on your cast, so it fishes very, very well.

Let's go through our material list here guys. First we're going to need some deer hair. I prefer deer over elk. It's going to make that wing work for us a little bit better; it compresses better. Olive bucktail for the body. Black bucktail for the actual tail of the fly. Here's your Ice Dub for the thorax. Whiting's bugger pack in grizzly. They have some smaller gauge sizes in here that'll work good for this bigger hook. Also same thing in the olive. Brown uni six ought. Dai-Riki's 270 size 8. It's a straight eye. Let's get into it.

All right guys. Let's get into it here. When you start out, you kind of notice I've got my hook kind of at a downward angle here. That's on purpose, where you want to be able to have a little bit of an angle back here so you can climb down the hook dent with your body material and also the tail. It's going to give kind of that upward sweeping motion when those Mayflies are sitting in water. It looks a lot more realistic that way. Go ahead and tie in up to the midway point. We're going to coat the whole hook here with some thread. That's going to help us have a little bit of traction for our bucktail to stick down to the shank to, so it's not slipping off.

We'll start out with our black bucktail. That's going to be for the actual tail of the fly. You don't need a whole lot. Sparse is probably better. We want, oh, about yea much, and about a shank length for the actual tail. Again, go ahead and let it climb down around the bend of the hook here, and come back up. Now we're going to use our olive bucktail for the body. I like to use this bottom portion here, guys, for the material because it compresses a little bit better and it's going to show our segments of that body better.

About yea much for the body. Now we're going to make our segments here. About five or six times around each segment, making them somewhat equal. If you noticed, I didn't let go of the body material with the olive bucktail, and that's for a good reason, because when we get down to the bend here, it's going to make it a lot easier to clip and not have to come back later and try and separate out from the actual black bucktail, which is the tail material. Go ahead and snip that guy off.

Then chase your segments back. You don't need to go over it a whole bunch. We already did that. Just chase it right back up to the front. Then we're going to invert the fly. Next is going to be our dubbing for the thorax here. Then we're just going to create a ball right there, guys. That's probably a bit much, so about that length. Again, we're not coming forward because we still have to put our wing in.

Right, now it's time for the hackle. Again, we have our white grizzly and our olive grizzly. As you see, we kind of have them paired together, cupping each other like that. We've prepped, the stem here, we've taken some of our hackle fiber off, and that's so we can have a nice little tie-in point there. Get him tied in.

Next will be our wing. We still have the deer hair. What you want to make sure you guys do is get rid of all your underbelly fur, clean it out nice and good. Go ahead and stack it. We want pretty long wing on there guys. It's going to go back to about the bend of the hook. Now we're going to add a little bit more dubbing. Need a touch more there. I think that's good.

Now you can do your hackle. Tie him off right up at the eye there. Don't have to trap too many fibers. Then trim him off, clean him up a little bit. Then up here, careful you don't stick yourself with the hook, but we're going to clip those butt ends nice and flush here. Go ahead and tie it off. Almost done.

I'll take him back out, flip him over, grab your hook, and we're going to coat the body with some head cement to give him a little bit more durable body there. Also don't forget your thread. I would let this dry on the body and then come back another 10 or 15 minutes later and do another coat. That'll just really make him nice and durable. All right guys. That's it. Here's your Green Drake, inverted Green Drake hairwing parachute style. Thanks.


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Tyler Balich grew up in Anchorage, Alaska where, naturally, he learned to hunt and fish. He moved to north Idaho 23 years ago and now manages North 40 Fly Shop in Coeur d’Alene. When not wandering the mountains for elk, or wading rivers for cutthroat trout, or floating down Montana’s Clark Fork River, he spends time with his wife and children.

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