Brown Drake? [Archive] - Fly Fishing Forum

: Brown Drake?

06-16-2003, 11:13 AM
I was out fishing last night here in the Upper Peninsula of Michigan. I saw a large number of big reddish-brown mayflies. I would guess a realistic imitation of these mayflies would be a size 10 or even a size 8 hook. Some seemed to have extra long bodies that curled forward over the head, in effect making a "C" shape when they landed on the water. The spinners were high above the stream mating and put on one of the more spectacular displays I've seen.

Anyone have an idea what type of mayflies these were? I'm no expert, but I'm assuming they were Brown Drakes? Does this sound right?

If so, what is the best imitation for a Brown Drake dun and/or spinner?

06-16-2003, 09:14 PM

This sounds more like an Isonychia than the Brown Drake. Brown Drakes are actually a cream (or golden brown) color with brown highlights in the wings of the dun's grey wings. And the Brown Drake spinners have this same cream to golden brown coloration.

Isonychia spinner are a mahogany (reddish-brown) brown and would be #8 or #10 in hook size. Just tie a spent wing spinner with light dun tails, a reddish-brown dubbed body, and spent wings of either very light grey poly yarn or a light dun and grizzly hackle wound and then clipped top and bottom (you can simply just clip the hackle on the bottom and then have the top of the hackle to help you see the fly). Tie it on a #10 or #12 2x long, fine wire hook.

06-17-2003, 11:52 PM
Thanks for the help, flytyer.

I went back tonight and the spinner fall was nearly as spectacular as the previous night. I collected some of the spinners for observation and they indeed have a rust brown body, long tails, and seem to be about a size 10. However, something new I did notice this time is that although the spinner wings are mostly clear, there are some blotchy, mottled, dark markings on the wings. In fact this ordered, mottled pattern looks a lot like pictures I 've seen of the spinner wings of the Brown Drake. Do both the Brown Drake and Isonychia have wings that have such markings, rather than having a completely clear wing?

06-18-2003, 01:15 PM

Yes, they both have these markings. However, you don't need to worry about it though because a wing of grizzly hackle mixed with light dun hackle clipped on the bottom imitates the wing for both. And trout never seemed top be very particualr about whether the imitation wings were a solid light color or if they had the blotches.