Dry Flies – the basics to have in your box


Part I: The fly box – The main problem with dry fly storage is damaging the hackles (squishing or flattening your fly). If you put them into foam incorrectly you risk bending the hackles and altering how the fly floats. The safest way to go is a compartment box – but you have to keep in mind that a windy day can eat a lot of flies. The other boxes that work well are slit foam style from Umpqua – UPG and Scientific Anglers that are built to hold tall dry flies.

10: Royal Wulff

Might be too low for this classic, but it’s on the list. I use this fly in a size 20 during the Deschutes caddis hatch and size 12 on the Blitzen in the fall.

9: Sparkle Dun

This is a fantastic fly that sits well in the water. It doesn’t sit high like a traditonal dry so you tend to have a more natural presentation. Colors that I like this fly in are the following: olive, yellow, grey, purple, or black depending on the day and hatch.

8: Cripple

What fish would refuse a trapped and wounded bug that can’t fly away? That’s what a cripple is. The fly was developed as an emerger that got trapped in the shuck. If nothing else is working on a rising fish the cripple usally does a good job picking them up. Have it in grey, brown, purple, and olive. This is a killer fly before, during, and after the hatch.

7: Hopper

A hopper is the iconic summer dry of the Rockies. You can get some pretty explosive takes when you fish a hopper. The other added benifit it’s basicly a indicator with a hook in it. If you haven’t tried a hopper-dropper rig then you are missing out. Dave’s Hopper is a personal favorite.

6: Ant

Another terrestrial sometimes saves the day wet or dry. This is a great attractor pattern for Central and Eastern Oregon streams and lakes. They will get blown off the pine trees and drive fish nuts. As a side note don’t be afraid to sink one you would be suprised on the results.

5: Parachute Adams

One of the best with numerous variations that work equally well or better. We find that there are more productive patterns, which is why this fly lands at 5. But none the less the adams has been a staple in fly boxes for over 50 years so be sure to have it handy.

4: Elk Hair Caddis

When anyone thinks caddis they think elk hair. This fly catches fish. I fish it during the heat of the day. To me the best part of fishing an elk hair is the variety of strikes you get – from sipping on an eddy line to a Hunt for Red October full breach. Have some in tan, yellow, black, and olive.

3: Stimulator

All around good fly. Just like the elk hair I use this through the middle of the day. It is a great fly for agressive fish and when you don’t know what to use. I like to run a hopper-dropper with this fly, mainly a soft hackle, because when you finish the drift then you can swing the soft hackle and skate the stimulator. Coastal cutthroat are suckers for skated flies.

2: Chubby Chernobyl

This is the most popular fly in west right now, or it at lease seams that way. This fly comes in infinite colors and combinations that catch fish. Gold and tan seam to be the best followed by orange, red, purple, and pink. Try it with a possie bugger off the hook shank on the upper Mckenzie and Willamette drainages.

1: Purple Haze

The purple haze is the newest adams variation. This is the do all fly. I have this fly in sizes 12 through 18. Fish it insted of a natural colored fly when the bite seems to have turned off. This fly can be fished as any mayfly, as long as you match the size correctly. This is also a great fly to fish as an alternate to the dominate hatch – i.e. grasshopper season and the salmonfly hatch.

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