Copyright 2013 James Marsh
Insects and other foods the trout
should be eating:
1. BWOs (Little BWOs)
2. Giant Black Stoneflies
3. Light Cahills
4. Cinnamon Caddis (mostly Abrams)
5. Eastern Pale Evening Duns
6. Little Short-horned Sedges
7. American March Browns
9. Green Sedges
10. Little Yellow Stoneflies
11. Golden Stoneflies
Most available - Other types of food:
12. Sculpin, Minnows (Streamers)
13. Inch Worms
Fishing Tales - The Parachute Adams Letdown
To set the stage for today's fishing tale, let me begin by doing a little background intro. In my opinion, the
Parachute Adams dry fly is the best non-specific, generic fly pattern there is. It imitates medium to darker
colored mayflies and works fairly well as long as trout only get a quick glimpse of it.
The Adams fly was developed in 1922 in Michigan by Leonard Hallady. He named the fly after his friend,
Judge Charles F. Adams. The fly was developed to catch the stocked trout that was replacing the
Grayling and Brook trout which were almost becoming extinct due to over fishing. The new stocked trout
were brown trout. Eventually, the Adams fly lead to other variations of the fly including the Parachute Adams.
The original parachute fly was called a gyro fly. It was first sold by William Mills and Son of New York, a
sporting goods store. According to our research, in 1934 the fly was patented by William Avery Bush of
Detroit Michigan. The Parachute Adams became a success primarily because it caught trout, but more
specifically, because it suspends in the surface film where mayflies usually emerge. The
horizontally wound hackle looks much like the insects legs. Prior to that, the Catskill style flies had
vertically wound hackle and the hackle all appears in one place in relationship to the body of the mayfly. The
parachute style spreads out the hackle and looks much more like the legs of a mayfly.
There's no question in my mind that the parachute style of hackle (that represents the legs of the mayfly) is
far superior to vertical wound hackle. Those that swear by vertical wound hackle contend it floats much
better in fast water. The problem is, those people making that claim have yet to figure out mayflies don't
hatch in fast water. The duns sometimes get caught up in fast water, but even the clingers that prefer fast
water streams hatch in moderate flows and pockets of slow moving water.
The parachute style is what I chose to use on all of our non-drake size Perfect Fly mayfly duns. The hackle
looks much like the legs of a mayfly protruding through the surface skim. That written, the real question
should be, is a Parachute Adams as good as a fly that does a good job of imitating a specific
mayfly that's most plentiful and available for the trout to eat?
Now, here's the fishing tale: A few years ago, Angie and I were fishing the tailwater section of the Ruby
River in Montana for the first time. Downstream a good distance below the dam, public access is limited. The
property is all owned by one man I won't name and only a few public access points at bridges are
available. The regulations allow you to fish streams that run through private property that can be accessed
from public access points as long as you stay within the stream. We had arrived at an access and were
putting on our waders when we noticed a man wading downstream where we intended to fish. When he got
out of the water, we carried on the usual conversation but also asked how far he fished upstream. We would
be fishing water he just waded through if we didn't go further upstream than he did. As it turned out, he had
been there all morning and we needed to move to a different access.
The gentleman was from Washington D.C., and is a very well known public figure I want name because I don't
have his permission to do so. We talked for about thirty minutes about fishing and during that time I noticed
he had a Parachute Adams tied on his tippet. I asked if he was catching trout on it and he replied yes and
added that it was the only dry fly he ever fished. He proceeded to show me his dry fly box which only
had several different sizes of Parachute Adams. He said flatly, if trout don't hit a Parachute Adams,
you can take your fly rod apart and go home. I showed him some of the first Perfect Fly imitations we
had come up with. He laughed and said, "good luck". At that time, we only had a few of our Perfect Fly
patterns developed. We had fished them very little.
The conversation lead me to telling him we had just arrived from fishing the Missouri River below Holter Dam
for a week where we caught some nice size rainbows. I continued to tell him that we would be going back one
week from that day to pick up my son-in-law at the Great Falls airport not far from there and we would be
fishing the Missouri again for a couple of days. I continued to tell the gentleman all the details about
where we had fished.
The next week passed and we headed to Great Falls, picked up my son-in-law, and stopped back on the
Missouri River to let Darren experience some of the action with the big rainbows. To our surprise, the first
angler we spotted on the river was our new friend from Washington D.C. He was fishing the same spot we
told him about. He had been there about all morning but he hadn't caught a trout. He had a hook size 16
Parachute Adams tied on. I had told him that we used our size 16 Blue-winged Olive Dun to catch the trout
we caught the week before. I added that the BWO's probably hadn't started hatching and that he should stay
and fish with us. He did just that.
I waded out in the river and begin casting at trout rising and hooked about a 16 inch rainbow within the first
five minutes of fishing. Angie was running the video camera on a tripod on the bank. The gentleman was
fishing just out of casting distance upstream from me. Within a few more minutes I hung and released one at
least 18 inches long. I yelled at him and offered him one of the same flies I was using but he refused it and
continued to fish the Parachute Adams.
To shorten the story, within the next three hours, I caught and released eleven trout, all over 14 inches
and up to 18 while he failed to catch one. I even let him fish the same area I started in and he didn't catch
one. I moved down the river a couple of hundred yards during that time and still continued to catch rainbows.
Trout were feeding on the emerging baetis mayflies the entire time. Although the unnamed gentleman had
been fly fishing for trout in both the eastern and western United States for thirty years. He never caught the
first trout that day.
To add a little to the details, the Missouri is a smooth flowing tailwater. It's currents are tricky and a little
deceiving but the water was flowing fast that day. It was difficult to wade. The bottom is smooth and covered
with grass and the surface is fairly slick. Anglers were fishing the river from drift boats and tube floats.
In case you haven't figured it out, the bottom line is the trout were rejecting his fly. Even though the water
was fast, they could get a good enough look at his Parachute Adams to determine it wasn't what they were
To answer the real question I lead in with,"is a Parachute Adams as good as a fly that does a good job
of imitating a specific mayfly that's most plentiful and available for the trout to eat", the answer is
Anglers are leaning this everyday. We are rapidly re-defining the fly business. It's a simple fact that the
more a fly looks like the real food the trout eat, the more effective it is. We used Parachute Adams and
many other popular generic and attractor flies for our first few years of fly fishing and caught trout, but we
soon learned they worked best when the trout only get a quick glimpse of them. We are proving to anglers
that give our Perfect Flies a try that even when your fishing fast, pocket water streams, our flies will always
provide a higher percentage of hook ups. When your fishing water where the trout get a good look at your
fly, they offer a huge advantage. A few thousand of our customers have figured that out and as a result, the
number of sales are increasing exponentially.
New Schedule of Daily
Mondays: Weather and Stream
Conditions Forecast - Coming Week
Tuesdays: Fly Fishing Strategies -
Which Flies To Use - Coming Week
Wednesday: Fishing Tales
Thursday: Smoky Mountains Fishing
Friday: Getting Started
Saturday: Fly Fishing School
Sunday: This Week's Featured Trout
More Options For Selecting Flies:
1. Email us with the dates you will be
fishing the park and we will send
you a list of our fly suggestions.
Please allow up to 24 hours for a
2. Call us at 800-594-4726 and we
will help you decide which flies you
3. Call or email us with a budget for
flies and we will select them and get
them to you in time for your trip.
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