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      Actual Callibaetis

Notes: The Adams is considered to be an attractor pattern. Although it was originally tied for a caddis imitation with a downwing, the wing subsequently became upright to represent many other insects such as mayflies, midge clusters, or a large midge. It is a particularly good Callibaetis in sizes 12-16. In sizes 16-20, it can represent many of the Baetis.
This fly has the distinction of having it's own plaque in Michigan which reads, "In 1922, ardent fly fisherman Leonard Halladay created the first Adams dry fly near his home on the banks of Mayfield pond. He named it in honor of his good friend, Judge Charles F. Adams, another enthusiastic angler who loved to fish for brook and brown trout in the nearby Boardman River. The Adams combines brown and grizzly hackle; many trout anglers claim it is the best fly ever made. Some, in fact, declare that if they had to use only one fly for all of their trout fishing, it would be the Adams".

The original recipe was : (From "Fishing Flies and Fly Tying" by William F. Blades 1951)

  • Tail: Two strands Golden Pheasant tippet or grizzly hackle fibers
  • Body: Grey wool or muskrat fur; grey wool egg sack.
  • Wings: Grizzly hackle tips tied spent
  • Hackle: Brown and grizzly, tied together

There are a number of variations to this pattern. Leonard Halladay added a yellow eggsack for a Female Adams version. Later, the tailing material was changed to Elk Hair providing better floatability and is known as the Western Adams. This is a particularly good version for our Sierran waters. Andre Puyans of Walnut Creek, CA introduced a loopwing style to the fly which gave the fly a better mayfly silhouette. The hackles can be tied either as a parachute or vertically as the standard Adams is tied. In the Sierra, another variation was developed which used yellow dubbing or floss rather than muskrat. In one fly shop in Bishop, the fly was referred to as a "Convict Special". One problem with the Adams is that it is difficult to see with the grizzly and brown hackles. The use of a parachute helps in sighting the fly but also in lowering its silhouette into the surface film. The Parachute Adams was one of the original parachute flies that was referred to as a "Gyrofly" in the 1930's by A.C. Mills of New York. At the time, a Grizzly Hackle was used as the wingpost and the Hackle was wrapped around it. Tom Deschaine wrote a very good history on the Adams Fly in the Hatches website. Here is the link: History of the Adams Fly


Female Adams
Female Adams

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Western Adams
Loop Wing Adams

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Adams, Down Wing
Loop Wing Adams

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Adams, Yellow Body (aka Convict Special)
Adams, Yellow Body

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Adams, Loopwing
Loopwing Adams

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