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Adams  at Cabela's


Author: Mark Boardman

Adams is one of America's favorite dry fly patterns for good reason. It imitates a variety of insects and works well as a searching pattern. Learn how to tie this versatile pattern.

The Adams dry fly.
The Adams is touted by many to be the single best dry fly searching pattern available. Tied in various sizes, the Adams can imitate insects such as adult mayflies, adult caddis, midges, and mosquitoes. Few patterns posses it's versatility and following. If you aren't sure what insects are coming off the water or don't have an exact match for what is hatching, the Adams is a good place to start.


Hook: Standard dry fly hook #12-#20
Thread: Black 6/0 or 8/0
Tail: Brown and grizzly hackle fibers
Body: Muskrat fur dubbing
Hackle: Brown and grizzly
Wing: Hen grizzly hackle tips


  1. Begin by wrapping the thread back 1/2 the length of the hook and then forward to a point 1/4 of the hook shank behind the eye. Take two hen grizzly hackle tips measuring the length of the hook and facing out and tie them in with their tips towards the hook bend.

  2. Hold the hen grizzly hackle tips at a 90 degree angle and make a few wraps directly behind their base in order to stand them upright. Next, split the wings apart using a couple figure eight's.

  3. Wrap the thread back to the start of the hook bend. Select 5-10 non-webbed grizzly hackle fibers and 5-10 non-webbed brown hackle fibers from their stems. They should be equal in length to the entire hook. With the tips even, gently roll the fibers between your fingers mixing them together. Lay them down on the hook shank leaving a gap between the wings and the butts of the fibers. Wrap the thread forward over the fibers.

  4. Spin some muskrat fur dubbing tightly to the thread tapering down at both ends. Wrap the dubbing, still leaving a small gap between it and the wings. This will form the body of the fly.

  5. Select matching brown and grizzly hackle feathers with their fibers being approximately equal in length to the hook shank. Remove the fibers from the base of the feathers. Tie the feathers down in the gap between the body and wings and facing out with the stems protruding between the wings. Make several wraps of thread in front of the wings to tie the hackle stems down.

  6. Take the hackle feather opposite of you and make 3-4 wraps behind the wings and then 3-4 wraps in front of the wings. Tie the hackle feather off and cut or pull the tag end until the excess breaks off. Repeat this step with the remaining hackle feather.

  7. Complete the fly by pulling the hackles back and making several wraps around the hackle tie down points to ensure their security. Use a whip finish and apply head cement.

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