For 100 years, it has been a fly that imitates nothing yet imitates everything.
The original Adams Dry Fly recipe was tied in the collared hackle, split-wing style. Today there are many different materials used and several tying style variations. Many will say, if they were limited to one dry fly, it would be the Parachute Adams. The Adams has, arguably, caught more trout than any other single dry fly pattern. What makes the Adams Parachute recipe below so effective?
- Generally “good enough” – though the Parachute Adams doesn’t imitate a specific species, it can resemble several on the water. These include Blue Wing Olives (BWO), Hedricksons, Caddis, March Brown, Green Drake and the list goes on. In a pinch, you can trim the hackle to make a spinner or keep trimming to make a nyphm.
- Great Search Pattern – we have all been there, staring in your fly box, nothing specific is rising, you don’t want to dredge nymphs, the water should hold trout and you need some place to start. This Parachute Adams Recipe will certainly produce a great searching pattern fly to test those waters.
- Everything Seems to Love it – Not just limited to trout, I have intentionally fished this pattern for sunfish, rising carp and have even caught bullfrogs on it! While sun fishing, I have had a bass or two take this fly.
Adams Dry Fly – Brief History
According to Wikipedia, “In 1922, Leonard Halladay, a Michigan fly tyer conceived the Adams as a general mayfly imitation. It was first fished by an Ohio attorney and friend of Halladay, Charles F. Adams on the Boardman River near Traverse City, Michigan. Charles Adams reported his success with the fly to Halladay who named the fly after his friend.” So, this fly could very well be named the Halliday, had ol’ Leonard not been so gracious to his friend, Charles Adams.
Original Adams Dry Fly Recipe
Since this pattern has been around for 100 years, and since fly tyers can’t ever not “improve” on the original, there are many variations out there to choose from. The original Adams Dry Fly Recipe:
- Hook: #14 Dry Fly Hook
- Thread: Dark Grey to Black
- Tail: Golden Pheasant Neck Feathers (which is a really cool looking bird)
- Body: Grey Wool
- Wing: Barred Plymouth Rock Rooster Feathers
- Hackle: One each, Barred Plymouth Rock and Rhode Island Red Rooster Feathers
Modern Material Substitutions
Given years of use and access to more varied options, the following material changes have been generally adopted to make the Adams Dry Fly recipe as it is tied and sold today:
- Hook: #10-#22
- Tail: Brown and Grizzly genetic hackle fibers
- Body: Muskrat, possum, squirrel or synthetic dubbing
There are no rules here and many folks change one or more materials to suit fishing conditions, available materials or whatever mood they are in at the vise.
Adams Dry Fly Styles – Collar, Parachute and Irresistible
The original, collar version, is still very effective and you can find plenty at your local fly shop. I am sharing one of my favorite tyers, Barry Ord Clarke, to demonstrate how to tie (his version) of the Adams Dry Fly in collar, parachute and irresistible versions. Let’s start with original Adams Dry Fly.
The Parachute Adams recipe simply subs out a post of hair, CDC or synthetic material for the wings and the hackles are wrapped around the base of the post horizontal to the hook shank instead of the front of the fly at a 90-degree angle to the hook shank. Barry again to demonstrate.
The irresistible version subs the dubbed body material for spun and closely trimmed elk or deer hair to form a tapered body. My man Barry to show you how it is done.
Comment below if you have a favorite Adams Dry Fly recipe to share. Contact me any time.