Adams Wet Fly

Adams Wet Fly

The Adams is unquestionably one of the most popular dry flies ever created. Ubiquitous in its variegated color representations of mottled light and dark grays and browns, it is a great dry fly. In fact, the Adams is an excellent dry fly. Yet I know some people who do not own one and have never fished it. You know, yes, I refer to some of those “match-the-hatch-only-use-patterns-that-actually-imitate-a-living-insect” fellows. And gals. I know one…

I have had wonderful angling success over the years using a Parachute Adams. Numerous other versions exist; the Strawberry Adams, Olive-Bodied Adams, Yellow Adams, and a version called the Lady or Female Adams, which I believe is similar if not identical to the Yellow Adams.

The Adams was also made popular as a wet fly too. Years ago as a youngster I saw commercially tied Adams wet flies in a local sporting goods store, but these cheap flies used gray mallard for the wings, instead of the grizzly hackle tips that were original to the dry fly pattern. On this wet fly version, I used soft hen neck grizzly hackle tips to give a nice wing profile. This is a good wet fly. You may want to consider tying up a few, even in larger sizes. Fished singly, or in combination with a cast of two or three wet flies, the Adams will help increase your hook-ups on a given day of wet fly angling. It is just a good all-round generic looks-like-a-bug wet fly.

Adams Wet Fly Recipe:

Hook: Mustad or other, standard wet fly hook

Thread: This specimen is finished with black, but gray is a good  color for fishing flies. Gray thread also makes a nice thread rib, which tightens up the body a bit and produces a segmented appearance.

Tip: Gold tinsel, optional

Tail: Brown and grizzly hen fibers, mixed

Ribbing: None, though optionally, you could use fine gold wire, or rib the body with reverse-wound tying thread from your bobbin

Body: Dark gray muskrat or rabbit fur

Hackle: Brown and grizzly hen, one turn of each

Wing: Grizzly hen hackle tips, paired facing in, back-to-back as shown

Watch that drift, work the currents, and enjoy tight lines!


The Adams Wet Fly, tied on a #6 Mustad 3399 wet fly hook

16 comments on “Adams Wet Fly

  1. Chris D says:

    That is one delicious looking wetfly!

  2. Thanks Chris, appreciate your comment and compliment!

  3. pacres says:

    Looks awesome Don.

  4. Todd Towle says:

    That fly was first shown to me many years ago. It still sees use every season. The Adams is in my “Top Ten” wet selection. Works everywhere just like the dry version.

  5. Don Bastian says:

    Hey Todd, thanks for sharing that. It is a good wet fly, overlooked as a wet though. I admit it has started me wondering about an Adams Nymph pattern? No grizzly hen wings, just a dark gray wing-case perhaps? That would have to take trout as a generic nymph, kinda like a Hare’s Ear…

    Thanks again! Appreciate it!

  6. Mike Norwood says:

    That’s a beauty, Don. One of the first flies I ever tied was an Adams dry. I’ll certainly have to tie up a wet version.

  7. Don Bastian says:

    Hi Mike! Thanks for the comment. Yes, the Adams is not usually thought of as a wet fly…though as I’ve tried to point out, look at it! How can it not be a fish catcher?!!
    The hen hackle tips are from one of Charlie Collin’s grizzly hen neck sets. (He sells both the back and neck patches together).
    Thanks again! Appreciate you plugging in here on occasion…

  8. Scott Bernard says:

    Nice fly Don. I’ve caught many brookies fishing an Adams dry drowned on a retrieve. I purposely fish the fly without floatant for that reason. It’s looks great on a wet fly hook. Have ever heard or tied a wet version of the coffin fly? I fish those the same way.

  9. […] fly tying, swittersb, winged wet fly A while back, I pointed to Don Bastian’s site, Don Bastian Wet Flies. I made an observation re his personal life that probably was not my place to make and suggested he […]

  10. I have tied this fly using natural hare’s mask for the tail. It provides for a continuous color tone from the body to the tail complimenting the Adams pattern. Size 10 is my choice for local streams as I use only the hook for weight. If I choose a smaller size, I make a smaller fly on the same #10 hook.

    I started using this fly for similar reasons, as the dry fly would soak going through rapid currents and would get numerous sub-surface strikes.

  11. Excellent visual of Down Wing Adams –

    I was introduced to using hair’s mask as a tail through Andy Burke’s Down Wing Adams image found at He notes the importance of tone considerations and thoughts on fishing the fly. Andy was a great resource as I explored options.

    • Hi Robert;
      Thanks for your observations, comments, and input to the Adams wet fly discussion and post here. Another friend just e-mailed me a photos this morning of some wet Adams that he tied. Glad you enjoyed the photo. Thanks again!

  12. DBL says:

    Beautiful fly tying, I’ve always thought there must be a wet Adams out there, most people in my area fish Dark Cahills but I’ve loved the Adams dry so much I’ve wanted to try a wet version, great example, thanks much.

    • Don Bastian says:

      Hi DBL;
      Glad you liked the pattern! I remember seeing an Adams wet fly in the sporting goods store when I was younger, it was similar to my version but just used gray mallard for the wings. A grizzly hen cape makes for beautiful paired wings, much like on the wet flies of old. Thanks for your comment!

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