Tying Dry Flies - Fly Patterns and Recipes


Fly Recipes | Streamer Patterns | Dry Fly Patterns | Wet Fly Patterns

When it's late May or early June, you're standing in the middle of a trout stream and it looks like it's starting to snow, it's time to tie on a dry fly and match what is coming off the river. Pay close attention to color and size of the fly in hatch and match it up as close as possible. Most of the year trout feed beneath the surface of the water on insects waiting for their time to become adults or juicy minnows that flutters in the shallow water.

Dry fly fishing is a different ball game when it comes to out smarting a trout into taking the fly. Not only is color and size important but you cannot overlook drift, drag and presentation.

In dry fly fishing our sense of sight comes into play. We are able to watch it all unfold in front of us. It may be quick or we may whiteness a good trout rise nice and slow then sip our fly in with open gills.

When fishing and a hatch is taking place, capture a fly or two. Take a look and open up the fly box and compare. The four dry flies I would choose for starters are the Brown Bivisible. It's not a handsome fly and it's very simple to tie. It has been over looked as a good all around fly. Second the Adams. When in doubt fly the Elk Hair Caddis patterns. It's a tough little fly and fish love it. The Light Hendrickson is a good floater and has a sweet cream color that will bring any tout to the table.

Favorite Dry Fly Recipes.

The best bet to cover your fishing with four dry fly patterns. First choose color and then size. Try to match for all practical purposes the colors most common to the fly in hatch like grays and browns of nature, creams and pale yellows.


Brown Bivisible Recipe
Hook #8 to #12 2-3x Fine
Wings None
Hackle Brown with white 1/4 of front.
Body Brown with white
Tail Brown hackle
Head Black thread. Lacquered.

I remember the first time to use a Bivisible and often wished I could have seen the fish that took it. I was fishing a stretch of water where the cedars hung out over the bank and were casting dark shadows. The current was slow and easy most of the day. My dad had told me of this spot and said I should lay back and watch this area from a distance. When I see some movement on the surface, move in easy with a low profile, lay the fly just up from the cedars and let it drift into the shadows. He was right. In the first cast a beauty made a quick curve and took my fly leader tippet and all. I was sold on the Bivisible ever since.


Adams Fly Recipe
Hook #4 to #12 Light
Wings Grizzly tips tied spent.
Hackle Brown and grizzly.
Body Gray dubbing or muskrat fur.
Tail Brown and grizzly hackle strands.
Head Black thread. Lacquered.

The Adams fly has been around for quite some time and you will see many different version of it. I'm sure they all work well. Remember, it's what you feel good about and the fly you have confidence in. The Adams dry fly pattern is one that all fly fishermen use when in doubt. The one thing I like to do is to keep about four different sizes of the Adams in my fly box. When fishing dry fly patterns it is important to look at the size when there is a hatch on. I have tied them both ways with muskrat fur and grey dubbing. They both float well with a little silicone spray.


Elk Hair Caddis
Hook #10 to #16 light wire
Wings Elk hair tied down.
Hackle Light cream
Body Creamy orange ribbed.
Tail Brown hackle
Head Black thread. Lacquered.

This is one tough little dry fly. The more you fish it the better it gets. It may look beat-up and dragged out but you can blot it, dry it and keep on fishing. One of my Elk Hair Caddis flies got bad and ragged but I could not retire it. One day on the river, the under current took the fly under the bank and a good trout ended up with it in his lip. There are different versions of the Elk Hair but this particular one worked best for me. Give them all a try and remember the tougher they look the better they fish.


Light Hendrickson Dry Fly Pattern
Hook #8 to #14 light wire
Wings Wood duck.
Hackle Blue dun pale
Body Light creamy dubbing.
Tail Wood duck.
Head Black thread. Lacquered.

The light Hendrickson is my choice because of its profile and color. I carry a wide range of sizes in me fly box. It's a good floater with a high visibility for the trout and me. When this dry fly pattern drifts over a dark shadowed area it takes on a glow all it's own. I'm sure that tout admire it as it passes over their feeding station. It takes on water but will fish a long time with several false casts and a shot of silicone spray.