There are literally thousands of different dry fly patterns in the world. Some are well known, some are so obscure that only a handful of fly fishers have even heard of them. All have caught fish, but only a few have been universally successful. So, here they are – the top ten deadliest dry flies of all time!
10. Black Gnat. The Black Gnat is deadly all year round but is at its best early in the season when there are few flies hatching.
9. Spent Mayfly. The Spent Mayfly is the classic spinner pattern and is over 100 years old. There is a very good reason why it is still popular today – it works!
8. CDC Mayfly. The most effective of the Mayfly patterns is a modern variation on the classic patterns. Used in late May and early June this dry fly probably catches more fish than all the other Mayfly patterns put together.
7. Klinkhammer. A versatile fly suitable for rivers and lakes all year round but is deadly in the summer on still and slow moving water.
6. Gray Wulff. An all time classic that represents a large number of species. Can be used in larger sizes as a Mayfly pattern or as an olive pattern in smaller sizes. This dry fly is a must for all anglers and should be the fly of first choice if you are unsure on what pattern to use.
5. Red Spinner. A traditional chalk stream pattern that continues to catch large numbers of trout and grayling.
4. Balloon Caddis. An unusual entry but catch returns speak for themselves.
3. Gold Ribbed Hare's Ear. Great name, great fly! Can be used all year round but is most effective in the Spring. Its unique scruffy pattern is unmissable but seems to be attractive to trout and grayling.
2. Olive Dun. A generic pattern that represents a great number of upwing fly duns. Deadly all year round.
1. Para Adams. The best pattern by some margin according to my catch returns. The Para Adams is generic and comes in the full range of hook sizes. The parachute pattern allows even the most heavy handed caster to present the fly in a delicate manner. I sometimes use a size 10 to represent a Mayfly but most often use sizes 14-18 in the summer to imitate olive flies. If you don't have this pattern in your fly box you are, in my opinion, lowering your chances of success.