How to Tie a Parachute Adams Fly

The Parachute Adams fly is a versatile dry fly pattern that has been popular for over 100 years. Below is our step by step guide on how to tie a Parachute Adams Fly Pattern.
parachute adams

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The Parachute Adams is a versatile dry fly pattern that has been popular for over 100 years. Standing up to the test of time, the Parachute Adams fly can be found in fly boxes all over the world to this day.

So here’s everything you need to know about these classic dry flies, from how to tie them and the best way to fish Adams flies!

Parachute Fly

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About the Parachute Adams

The Parachute Adams is an incredible dry fly pattern that works well on all types of water. The Adams fly is an attractor pattern that can be used to imitate many different types of caddisflies and mayflies, as well as midges, tricos, and blue winged olives.

It was first created by Leonard Halliday, a prominent fly angler, professional guide, and fly tying expert, back in the early 1920s. Halliday’s friend, Charles Adams, was out fly fishing on the Boardman River, northern Michigan, but having no luck catching anything. Disappointed by poor results he was having, Adams reached out to Halliday to get some advice and guidance from a local expert.

Halliday gave the original Parachute Adams fly to his friend to test out and see how it would fare, and Adams had amazing success. As a result, Halliday named this fly the Adams fly, began to sell it, and the rest is history. The popularity of this classic pattern soared and soon, fly fishers everywhere were stocking up on them.

What is a Parachute Fly?

A parachute fly stands out because it will land upright almost every single time you cast it. Parachute flies also float exceptionally well and are very visible to the angler, making it easy and enjoyable to use. You can see your fly and quickly detect a strike, so you don’t miss out on any bites.

Parachute flies were developed almost simultaneously on both sides of the Atlantic Ocean. Alexander Martin was creating a parachute fly called the ‘ride-rite’ in Scotland around the same time that William Brush invented the ‘gyro’ parachute fly in America.

However, as Martin’s invention was the first to go through the patent process, he received most of the recognition for this significant development in the fly fishing world.

Over time, fly anglers have continued to adapt and improve parachute flies. In the 1970s, Swisher and Richards began to make parachute flies with a calf or deer hair post, which gave the fly added buoyancy and improved its performance on the water. Modern, artificial materials can also be used effectively.

Parachute Adam

What Does a Parachute Adams Imitate?

Parachute Adams can imitate many different families of caddis, midges, and mayflies. You can also mimic other insects depending on the colors, materials, and size you tie your flies.

The Parachute Adams is tied most often in gray, but there are many different variations, and you can experiment with different sizes and colors.

This is an attractor pattern, which means that it doesn’t precisely replicate any particular insect. Instead, it imitates a range of flies at a specific stage in their life cycle. In its original form, it most closely replicates Blue Winged Olives.

This dry fly is a realistic imitation of the adult caddis or mayfly, but its silhouette can also look like an injured dun or spinner. It’s the shape of this fly, rather than the color, that attracts trout and makes it an irresistible bite to eat. See also our full post on What Do Trout Eat here.


Here’s everything you need for fly tying this pattern, from the hook to the hackle, body, and thread:

  • Hook: Standard dry fly hook, size 12-22
  • Thread: Olive or Gray 6/0
  • Tail: Hackle fibers – grizzly and brown
  • Wing Post: White polypropylene yarn
  • Hackle: Brown hackle
  • Body: Superfine Adams gray dubbing
  • Head: Brown or black thread

You can also visit our top pick for uv fly tying resin here.

It’s also useful to have a hackle gauge to tie the Parachute Adams pattern.

How To Tie a Parachute Adams

Fly tying is an excellent way to dig deeper into your fly fishing hobby. It’s fun and affordable, and by tying your own flies, you will develop a deeper understanding of different insects and what the fish like to eat.

The best way to get started with fly tying is by watching some fly tying videos online. You’ll find tutorials available for almost every pattern imaginable.

Here’s a great video that walks you through tying the Parachute Adams dry flies, step by step:

When fly tying this pattern, you can play around with different colors depending on what insects you want to imitate. Black, dun, olive, and gray are the most common options for this fly.

How To Fish The Parachute Adams

When you fish a Parachute Adams, you’re guaranteed some excellent fly fishing! There are several different ways to fish this dry fly that will be sure to get the fish biting.

One technique you can try with your Parachute Adams is to skim it across the water. When you do this, it will resemble an adult caddisfly skittering around on the surface, and the movement will be sure to attract any hungry fish.

Another of the most effective ways to use this pattern is by matching the hatch. You can use this versatile fly to match the hatch of a wide variety of insects successfully.

If you see a caddisfly or mayfly hatch going on, your Parachute Adams fly is exactly what you need. Check your fly box to find one that is the closest match to the local insects, and you’ll be all set to catch loads of fish.

Parachute Fly

The Wrap Up

So there you have our complete guide to the Parachute Adams dry flies! From tying techniques to the best fly fishing techniques with an Adams fly, you’ll be all set to get out on the water for some epic fly fishing action! The Parachute Adams is a classic and versatile dry fly that should be in your tackle box in several different sizes and colors.

Found this article useful? Why not share it with fellow anglers on Facebook or Twitter? If you have any comments or questions, don’t hesitate to get in contact below! We love hearing from you guys.

Outdoor Planet 12 Adams Purple Parachute Dry Flies…
An extremely effective dry fly for trout, especially tough to catch fish; Fly size covers range: #12, #14, #16, #18, each size 3pieces

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