Dry flies are used to imitate the last stage of the insect’s life where they emerge from the nymph stage, come to surface of the water, and take flight to mate. There are literally thousands of different dry fly patterns available though there are some basic patterns that you should always have with you.
Sometimes you will see flies tied with a white clump of material on the top of the fly. These are called parachute patterns. I would highly recommend beginners use the parachute version of dry flies. They are much easier to see, float better, and you get the correct orientation of the fly in the water.
Imitation Patterns – Most dry fly patterns will try to imitate the fly based on shape, size, and color. These flies are usually mayfly, stonefly, and caddis fly patterns. Dark color flies are used in cooler weather (dark color absorbs more sunlight for heat) while lighter color flies are used in the heat. The most common imitation dry flies are:
Elk Hair Caddis
Attractor Patterns – Attractor patterns do not necessary try to imitate a specific insect. They are generic patterns that have similar size, shape, and colors of various insects. Attractor patterns can be very affective.
The most common attractor dry flies are: