The Solitary Adams

It was a fitting conclusion to a mind bending three days of floating the Rio Grande with the Duranglers / Trout’s crew. Salmonflies, browns and goldens, caddis, BWOs, and even a few grey drakes were true to form, fluttering with reckless abandon and then crashing to the water’s surface. Pteronarcys californica in particular flew high and mighty, and in numbers the guide staff said they hadn’t seen in a decade. Propagation of the species.

YOURS TRULY: John, what’s your thought on a fly for me today?

JOHN FLICK: Parachute Adams


JOHN FLICK: Don’t be silly Michael. Everyone knows these fish will only eat a 12. I’ll forgive you this once because I know how many bourbons you had last night.


Paired with a bonafide stick in Mark Zandell, proprietor of Tilden On Speer, I kicked my feet up and put the solitary adams to work. It skittered and skated, and moved too many fishes to bother keeping count. I put a new one on after the previous went Titanic, opening and closing the day with nary a smidgen of second guessing the choice. At the take-out one of the compadres asked me if I found using that one fly all day long boring. A short of it flying sixty feet, landing directly in front of a feeding brown, and getting pummeled flashed before my eyes. Anything but.

The Rio Grande system near its headwaters teems with an astounding variety of life. And with exception for the trouts that make it though the winter months’ low, icy flows, it is entirely short-lived; the bugs hatch, spawn, then die, and the river is only row-able for a couple of months a year. To the contrary, the parachute adams is deceptively simple.

And yet eternal. Much like memories of the days just past.

MG signing off (because not all good things must come to an end)


Screw all those fancy drake patterns, unless you’re on some ultra-finicky technical water – the Parachute Adams is the best Gray Drake pattern ever. Was I wrong?

You get a little credit for that choice too. After our conversation I bought out all existing stocks.

Now, to hock all the other stuff:

Graham S. says:

Well said Michael.

Been working hard, or not – depending on how you view it, to simplify this year. Dropping unnecessary equipment, third fly on nymph rigs, clothing, etc. in an effort to improve my approach and technique.

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