Notes: Designed by A.K. Best of Boulder, Colorado in the 1980's. Parachutes can represent the emerger stage of the mayfly and will often be effective at the beginning of the hatch and at the end of the hatch when spinners are starting to drop. They are more easily seen and can be good during low light situations. A parachute body will be within the surface film and a good stiff tailing material is required to support the hook. Select good spade hackles from a cape or select from a commercially available tailing pack such as Whiting CDL Tailing packs. A.K. tends to use 2-3 additional tailing fibers than he would on a standard dun pattern and would have the tails slightly longer, maybe 1-2 eye lengths longer. The tails should splay out from the bend of the hook which can be done with some tight thread wraps.
A.K. prefers to use dyed Stripped Quills for the body rather than dubbing to get a more slender profile.Stripped quills are dyed with a number of colors to match any mayfly. Stripped quills will also perform better as a dry fly than dubbed body flies since the quill does not imbibe water and will not pick up foreign residue. The body is cleaner, sheds water, and will perform well as a dry fly for a longer period of time. The quills should come from domestic Rooster Necks or Chinese Rooster Necks. The genetic neck hackles and saddle hackles are too thin for a Clorox and water treatment that burns off the fibers or from manually stripping, and the resulting quill will crack in numerous places. Commerically available dyed Stripped Quills are available in a number of colors and should be soaked for at least ten minutes in water prior to use. You might try coating the quills with Loons UV Fly finish, Flow. This coating will help to protect the quills from cracking and damage.
A.K. also prefers to use Turkey Flat feathers for the parachute wing. Traditional materials such as Calftail or Poly Yarn produce a large bump where the wing is tied onto the shank. This is a problem on the smaller baetis patterns. In addition, the use of a hair wingpost usually has a weight distribution problem on the small baetis patterns that cause the fly to tip on its side upon the water. A.K. likes to use the Turkey Flat feathers that are 2-4 inches long. They compress well, needing fewer thread wraps, lighter than Calf Hair, and more durable.
Note that A.K. usually ties his Quilled parachute without a dubbed thorax as the thread coloration suffices. You will see dubbing applied on the the thorax of his spinner patterns. This is a matter of personal preference as the dubbing can be applied prior to the wrapping of the hackle on the Quilled parachute and many of the commerically tied flies will have this feature.
The hackle should be from a good quality saddle or neck with no webbing, one size larger than the hook, ie on a #16 hook, choose a size 14 hackle. The bare stem of the hackle is tied along the base of the wing post and the hackle is wrapped with 4-5 turns proceeding down the wingpost. A.K. will tie off the tip of the hackle on the side of the hook in front of the wing post and whip finish. Some tiers will secure the hackle around the wing post and whip finish around the wing post as well, then finish with a few half hitches at the eye. This can achieve a clean appearance for the threaded thorax. Patterns of particular mayflies vary by the selection of the quill, hackle, thread color, and tailing fibers.