Small Western Green Drake (Flav) Continued
The Flav, a short common name for the Small Western Green Drake, looks much like the
larger Western Green Drake. The only real visual difference is the size of the two
mayflies. The Western Green Drakes are larger but only by a hook size or two. The
nymphs are fairly easy to distinguish but the duns aren't. thismakes little difference to
anglers except for hook size and for some differences in their behavior.
The Small Western Green Drake common names includes three species of mayflies from
the Drunella genus that are common in the West. The most common species, the
favilinea, are usually just referred to as "Flavs". This is about as close as many anglers
ever get in using the Latin name of an insect.
Whatever you call them, these are important mayflies that exist in most western trout
streams. In some ways they may be even more important to anglers than the larger more
famous green drake, the drunella grandis. The Small Western Green Drakes are usually
more wide-spread, plentiful and hatch over a longer period of time than the big Green
There are two other species, the spinifera and the coloradensis, that are also Small
Western Green Drakes that are included in this same group of mayflies. These species,
as well as the favilinea species, are all very similar in appearance and behavior. A
separate fly pattern isn't necessary for them.
The Flavs hatch well after the Green Drakes hatch on any one stream but it's possible to
have a hatch of Flavs occurring before the Green Drakes hatch on different streams in
the West due to the difference in drainage and elevation of the streams. You cannot
make the blanket statement that the Western Green Drakes hatch prior to the Small
Western Green Drakes unless you qualify that.
The main difference in the larger Western Green Drakes and the smaller version called
Flavs is their behavior, time of the hatches and duration of the hatches. Most of this
information is provided for the various stream's hatch charts. In general, in most locations
where both mayflies exist, the Flavs are more plentiful than their larger cousins. They
tend to be more difficult to imitate because generally, they hatch later in the season when
the weather is warmer. The hatches seem to be very dependant on cloud cover. Bright
sunny days and hatches of Small Western Green Drakes don't go together at all.
By the way, both the Western Green Drakes and the Flavs are very similar in
appearance to mayflies many anglers call Blue-winged Olives. It's just that they are both
much larger than what's generally referred to as BWOs.
Copyright 2013 James Marsh
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