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Fish Food

A Peek at the Fare that Drive Trout Crazy

(page 2 of 4)


Brown Drake

Genus: Ephemera

1. Emergence: June - August
2. Life Cycle: Egg, nymph, adult, spinner
3. Location: Rivers and lakes, predominate in slow water
4. Size: 8-12



There are events in nature that often leave the mind spinning at their grandeur, complexity and enormity. On Silver Creek, one of these events takes place annually. The early summer occurrence of the burrower mayfly known as brown drake goes beyond a “great hatch.” It reaches into the realm of the surreal and perhaps supernatural to anyone, fly angler or not, who witnesses the event.

What makes the brown drake event special is the sheer magnitude of it. Whereas most insects “hatch” and “spin” over the course of weeks and even months, the brown drake completes its life cycle often within 3 to 4 days. The brevity of the event means the insects have to show in numbers rarely seen by people, and coupled with the fact it is normally a dusk to darkness event, even fewer people are treated to the spectacle.

During the “hatch” insects can become so thick on the water’s surface, the bodies and shucks they shed can literally blanket every inch of the river. The fish gorge themselves, often to the point where drakes spill out of their gills as no room is left in their stomachs, but they just keep eating!

Even though the fish are gorging themselves, the fly fishing can be challenging. Sometimes there are just too many choices for the fish as the angler's fly becomes a needle in a haystack. Whether you fish or not, seeing the brown drake on Silver Creek during the right evening can leave a person reflecting deeply on our natural world. It is an event and migration unparalleled in the state of Idaho, and can leave you with your mouth hanging open, although during the event, it may be best to breathe through your nose!

-John Huber, owner of Ketchum On The Fly


Sun Valley Magazine encourages its readers to post thoughtful and respectful comments on all of our online stories. Your comments may be edited for length and language.

Jun 18, 2011 10:56 am
 Posted by  Anonymous

Great Photography love seeing the detail of the bugs.

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