If ever there was a dry fly that needed no introduction, it is the Adams fly. This American fly pattern (designed by Len Halladay of Michigan in 1922 at the request of his close friend Charles Adams) was believed to have originally been a down wing pattern that more closely imitated a caddis. Regardless of it origins, the Adams dry fly is considered by many anglers to be the best dry fly pattern ever conceived. Probably the first dry fly I memorized the name of, the Adams has always had a home in my fly boxes, and probably always will.
One of the greatest things about fly tying has to be the temptation we all feel to change patterns around…experiment a little. I’ve seen, and tied variations that include parachutes, egg-bearing females, trailing-shuck emergers, thorax ties, CDC-hackled Adams…even Adams wet flies! There are countless others, especially when you consider that the grey muskrat body color is often switched to imitate other species of mayflies and caddis! Have some fun, and don’t leave home without them!
Hook:Tiemco 100 size #10-#20 (or any standard dry fly hook)
Thread:Grey or black 8/0
Wing:Grizzly hackle tips (hen)
Hackle:Grizzly and Brown (rooster/neck)
Start your thread, as shown.
Select and align 2 grizzly hen hackle tips so that they flare away from one another. Measure them against the hook. The wings, when finished, should be approx. the length of the hook shank. Make 3-4 tight wraps of thread to tie them in. Its a good idea to make the first 1 or 2 wraps under light thread tension so that the feathers don’t twist.
Trim the butt ends of the hackle tips and begin to wrap your thread back towards the bend in the hook. Select some spade hackle (the hackle found at the edges of the rooster neck with long, stiff fibers) from both the grizzly and brown. Tie in a small bunch of grizzly as shown, followed by a small bunch of brown, and another small bunch of grizzly.
Less is more~its easy to get the tail too bulky!
Pictured here in the background is a patch of muskrat fur. The fluffy underfur is a delight to tie with. Trim a small clump close to the skin, remove the long guard hairs.
Dub a tapered abdomen of muskrat underfur, stopping before you get to the tie in point of the hackle tip wings. Pinch the hackle tips together and pull them back as shown.
Make 3-4 tight wraps of thread in front of the hackle tips to keep them upright as shown. Trim the hackle barbs that got squashed in the process!
Behind the wing (and over that spot you left bare while dubbing the abdomen) tie in a prepared brown hackle, and a grizzly one over it as shown.
The second hackle you tied on (the one on top) is the first one you wind forward~the grizzly. Make 1 or 2 wraps behind the wing, 2-3 in front of it. Try to keep the space between the wraps uniform. Tie it off.
Next, wind the brown hackle forward. Look closely at the hackle stem where it contacts the hook shank and try to position the wraps between the grizzly hackle. Tie off, trim off the remaining hackle. Small thread head, a bit of head cement…you’re done!
The Finished Adams Dry Fly Pattern
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