What are the Best Dry Fly Patterns?
Our picks to ‘Make Them Rise’
If you want to tempt freshwater trout to the surface, we feel it’s best to fish patterns representing insects that live in and around ponds, lakes, reservoirs, creeks, streams and rivers. Our dry fly assortments feature classic trout flies, and to these we’ve added some more of our (and our customers’) favorites.
Caddis usually hatch sporadically and mate away from water, so trout are not quite so keyed into their appearance at specific times. Our preferred flies are either those that use elk hair to create a high riding fly with a convincing wing shape, or parachutes that can mimic everything from emergers to the ‘spent’ adult stage.
The March Brown is a great fly for Spring Mayfly hatches and will also pass well for early Caddis. Later in the season (usually May/June, but later than that in cooler, higher waterways) Green Drakes hatch. Among the largest of Mayfly species, their hatches can attract larger adult trout.
Gnats & Midges
One of the best small dry flies, the Griffiths Gnat is a hugely successful pattern. It’s generally ‘buggy’ and can be fished for various types of gnat, midge, ant, or indeed any other other diminutive insect stuck in the surface film, either trying to emerge from beneath it or having fallen onto it.
What the Griffiths Gnat is to small bugs, the Stimulator is to larger ones. In our view the best all-round variants are those tied in lighter / earthy tones, because these match the widest possible number of Stonefly species as well as some types of Caddis.
Whether you are heading to running or still water, you could miss a trick if you don’t have some Beetle patterns in your fly box. Trout living in any body of water with bush or tree cover will not be surprised at weevils, beetles and other similarly-sized bugs landing on the surface of the water from early Spring through to late Fall.
In many parts of the US, July and August will see flying ants swarming in numbers comparable to Mayfly hatches – in fact, during these months they can make up over three quarters of trout diet.
Grasshoppers & Crickets
Until the 1950s the only widely commercially available Grasshopper pattern was Joe’s Hopper (also called the Michigan Hopper). Dave Whitlock combined the best features from that and the Muddler Minnow (notably the close-cropped deer hair head) into a fantastic imitation of the many different grasshopper species colloquially known as ‘short-horned’. Anglers also have him to thank for Dave’s Cricket, a great terrestrial fly for streams in less grassy and more tree-covered areas.