An emerger fly pattern that I’ve had great success the last few years (especially during the Brown Drake hatch as well as some other larger mayfly hatches), is a hare’s ear soft hackle with a CDC wing. It is also a good general search pattern during the June evenings on the Northern Wisconsin freestone streams.
Hook: size #8 or #6 dry fly
Thread: Dark Brown 8/0
Tail: Grouse feather
Ribbing: Danville’s gold oval tinsel (size #18)
Body: Hare’s ear mask
Wing: Trout Hunter CDC
Collar: English grouse feather or mallard duck shoulder feather
In the photo above the fly on the left I used an English grouse feather for the soft hackle. The emerger on the right I used a feather from the shoulder of a mallard. I like the extra bulk in the barbs and coloration of the mallard shoulder feather on these larger imitations. I bought a pair of mallard wings from Cabelas for around $4.00.
A couple of things when tying this fly:
Build up the body first with some grayish-tan fur dubbing, than wax thread so it is sticky and clip some short darker fur with guard hairs from a hare’s mask and wind over the underbody. This gives more bulk to the body of the fly.
Secure the soft hackle feather to the hook by the tip of the feather rather than the butt end.
Then take a few seconds to work all the barbs back towards the bend of the hook before winding around the hook shank, brushing the barbs back as needed.
Finish the head of the fly and whip finish.