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Tying the Adams Dry Fly

Posted by 
January 10, 2013
Published in News & Tips > Fishing > Fly Tying
2151   Comment

The Adams is easily one of the most recognizable dry flies ever conjured from a vice. Originally designed by Len Halladay of Michigan in 1922, the Adams is as effective on today's streams as it was 80 years ago. The Adams is a fantastic fly to match mayflies hatching on of your favorite trout waters.

The Adams is a traditional dry-fly pattern that can be tied in a wide range of sizes and fished in almost any water type — from big, fast, turbulent flows to small, quiet pocket waters. Cast this fly gently towards quiet water and hang on tight. Trout seem to have a special affinity for this dry fly and can't resist gobbling it up.

Materials List

Hook Dry Fly Hook — Size 10 to 20
Thread Flat Waxed Nylon Thread (Black)
Hackle Dry Fly Hackles
Tail Hackle Fibers (Grizzly & Furnace)
Abdomen Super Fine Dubbing
Wing Grizzly Hackle Tips


Step-by-Step Tying Instructions for the Adams Dry Fly

Step 1

Place the hook in the vice and tighten securely.


Step 2

Attach the thread to the hook shank and wrap to the point above the barb.


Step 3

Select and align the tips of 7-10 furnace spade hackle fibers (hackle with long, stiff fibers found at the edges of the rooster neck). Tie these fibers to the hook shank at the point above the barb. They should be about 1-and-a-half times the length of the hook gap.


Step 4

Select and align the tips of 7-10 grizzly spade hackle fibers. This time tie the fibers onto the top of the furnace fibers in the first step.


Step 5

Select and align 2 grizzly hackle tips so that they flare away from one another when held back to back. The wings, when finished, should be approximately the length of the hook shank.


Step 6

Tie these wings down to the hook extending over the hook eye at the 3/4 mark on the shank.


Step 7

Stand the wings upright and place several thread wraps in front of the base to keep them in place.


Step 8

Advance the thread back to the rear end of the shank and pinch dub your thread very lightly with the super fine dubbing. Build a small tapered body up the hook shank, stopping just behind the wings.


Step 9

Strip the bottom section from the furnace dry-fly hackle, leaving the stalk exposed, and tie this just behind the wings.


Step 10

Repeat Step 9 with the grizzly hackle.


Step 11

Advance the furnace hackle up the body of the fly, taking three turns of hackle behind the wings and two turns in front of the wings.


Step 12

Advance the grizzly hackle up the body of the fly, this time taking two turns of hackle behind the wings and three turns in front.


Step 13

Build a small head for the fly, whip finish the thread and cement.



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Jason Akl

Jason Akl is a writer, commercial fly tyer and guide with 15 years in the industry. Professionally, he's been a seasonal guide and fly tier that ties commercially and teaches tying classes to both adults and children. Most of his flies make their homes in fly shops in the northern Midwest but some have found their way as far as Europe. As a freelance writer, he's had many written pieces appear in both Canadian and American publications, as well as numerous global websites. When not on the bench or behind the computer, he spends time working with companies such as Daiichi Hooks or the American Tackle Co as part of their pro-staff doing product testing pieces and seminar

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