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Tie the Perfect Adams

The Adams is one of the quintessential American dry flies, and like most famous patterns, it has spawned many variations.

[by Dennis Potter]

I always enjoyed fishing the Au Sable River in northern Michigan with John Barton. John was a gentleman with a great sense of humor, and he was an accomplished angler. If he was fishing a dry fly, more often than not it was a small Parachute Adams.

We fished the upper Mason Tract on the Au Sable South Branch on several occasions. I was likely to fish with a hatch-matching fly, while John tied on his beloved Parachute Adams, usually size 18 or smaller. On one occasion, when the little summer slate-wing olives were in the air, he annihilated me with his large catch of trout. John was below me, and I watched him bring fish after fish to hand while I struggled in his wake.

The Parachute Adams is one of the few patterns that has stood the test of time and sits atop the fly anglers’ pedestal with a select group of dry flies. It catches fish in nearly all dry fly situations. Long ago, I gave up using hair of any kind on parachutes, including the Adams. I use The Adams is one of the quintessential American dry flies. And like most famous patterns, it has spawned many variations. Dennis Potter shows how to make his favorite versions of the timeless Adams. Tie the Perfect Adams one of the modern stiff, crinkled synthetics for parachute wings; no more cutting, cleaning, stacking, and struggling to get a wing on the hook. Synthetic materials are a good value, waterproof, available in every color you will need, and create a wonderful wing outline. Join me in using synthetic materials for wings on your parachute dry flies.

Let’s use the Adams family of patterns as examples of how to tie wings on dry flies. In addition to tying synthetic wings, we’ll learn how to make wings using hen hackles. Once you’ve mastered these techniques, apply them to almost any other type of dry fly you wish to tie. Good tying and, more important, good fishing!


How to Make Adams Wings

Let’s start at the beginning and see how to tie wings on an Adams. Once we have this technique in hand, we will look at how to tie the different members of the Adams Family.

Tying on the Wings
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