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signeDeadly Dozen Dry Flies


Eugene P. Macri Jr.


Ecolines: Fly Fishing Magazine


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© 2017 E. P. Macri Jr

Deadly Dozen Dry Flies

The fly fishermen's baker' s dozen of dry flies is quite a task. It's extremely hard to come up with just thirteen patterns. I need to carry many patterns in my vest and tackle bag because I fish many different types of water. I may be at Penn's Creek for 4 days and then fish a small limestoner like Failing Springs. I'm the type of guy that doesn't like to take out fly boxes and add others to the travelling equipment list. Since fly fishing is the type of pastime to love to excess you should realize that, of course, I am going to cheat like hell in this baker' s dozen. When I am done you'll wonder why these so called 13 patterns take up about two or three fly boxes! Remember in fly fishing whoever has the most equipment when we all die ... wins. So here it goes .... try not to laugh till you get through the whole thing. Furthermore, if your wife or girl friend wonders how just 13 patterns ends up costing you about $500 let her read this!

1) ADAMS ... No surprise here absolutely one of the best patterns ever invented. A good general color pattern for many mayflies especially early season ones. Also, a great searching pattern and also an excellent fly during many caddis hatches. Of course you need sizes 12 through 24. Plus you need this tied in spent wing and also the yellow bodied variety. A couple parachutes should also be a must. You should carry at least 3 of each size and variety. Don't start counting yet or you'll have one box filled.

2)SULFUR... One of the best patterns to carry anywhere. Both east and west for most mid season and late season mayfly hatches. Sizes should be from 12 to 24 once again. Now vary the shading of the body from off yellowish brown to orangish yellow and a couple of shades of gray for the wings. You should also carry a few of these in the no hackle variety.

3) GRIZZLY BIVISIBLE... This thing works when nothing else will. Works as an attractor and also for a variety of mayflies and caddis imitations. A variation with a peacock body is a must. This should be carried in sizes 10 through 28. A large one will work for caddis and stoneflies both east and west. The smaller ones are killer patterns for midges and other small obscene creatures which we can't see well. The small ones are also killers in lakes and ponds. Once again you should have a few of each variety and size. One other secret variation which I seldom share: a reddish peacock body or thin red fur is sometimes an absolute killer especially on rainbows refusing to hit anything else!

4) FUR ANTS... In case you haven't figured it out I am really sly. Now with this category I want sizes 12, 16, 18, 20, 22. 1 want shades of cinnamon brown and black. I also want a few 22 varieties with wings of each for the flying types. You must have at least 3 in each size, color and flying model. Don't look now but we might be filling the second box.

5) DEERHAIR BEETLE ... You don't really think I have a conscience on these matters do you? You need the following sizes: 8, 12, 14, 16, 20, 22. In the following colors: black, green, brown, yellow, and orange. Can the trout see enough of this color to make a difference? It seems so on some streams. Once again you should have a few of each.

6) ROYAL COACHMAN... The old standby that works especially well as an attractor on sunny days. You should have both the fan wing and regular patterns. Sizes 12, 14 and a smaller one about a 18 or 20.

7) LIGHT CAHILL... A must pattern in sizes 12 to 20. Vary the shading of the hackle and body slightly and you can cover most light colored mayflies. Bodies should vary from light cream to tannish cream to orangish cream. Hackles from pure white to creamish tan. A couple no hackles also make sense,

8) BROWN TAN BIVISIBLE... Imitates many caddis and mayflies. Sizes 10 through 24. Also works with midges and other strange stuff. This is one of the best flies for many caddis hatches on large rivers like the Yellowstone.

9) SULFUR ORANGE SPINNER... Vary the shade of the body from sulfur to various oranges with white poly wings and you can cover an amazing number of mayfly returns. Sizes 14 through 24. You'll need a lot of these because they really work well.

10) PALE MORNING DUN... Works well in both the east and west. Vary the shades of the wings from light to dark gray and the body slightly, as well as the hackle and you can cover most of the hatches in the west. Sizes 14 to 24, and a few no hackles too.

11) DEERHAIR CADDIS... Yes, I am cheating again. Two major body colors black and gray but you can throw in a tan if you like. Sizes 10 through 18 and you cover a lot of caddis hatches.

12) GRAY FOX VARIANT... Change the body to a dun color and you can cover many of the larger mayfly patterns with this imitation. Sizes 10 through 18. A great March Brown pattern and also with dun body works great for Isonychia (Leadwing Coachman).

13) MUDDLER TYPE PATTERN... It's the last one, of course, I going to stretch it. A muddler type pattern with a variety of heads and bodies. It will work for stonefly patterns; little ones will work for certain caddis patterns, and depending on the color a great terrestrial. Sizes 6 through 16, a few of each of course.
Well in case you have not counted you can see why just 13 patterns can fill 3 fly boxes. If you are buying your flies you may be reaching the $500 mark about right now. These patterns are an excellent overall guide especially for the fly angler who fishes a variety of water types. It's hard to go wrong with this selection in my estimation. Remember fly fishermen try to go first class even with just thirteen patterns.. GO FOR IT!!!!!




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