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Spring Fly Showdown: Copper John vs. the Adams

The round-of-eight bracket in the TU-Loon Outdoors Spring Fly Showdown features one of best deep-diving nymphs ever tied and perhaps the most widely used dry fly on earth.

Tying the Copper John.

First tied by Colorado fly tier John Barr, the Copper John is now a nymph angling go-to bug, particularly in tailwaters where, tied small, it can and will move picky trout. 

The Copper John can be tied old-school with copper wire, or you can tie it in red or, my favorite, lime green. It gets down quickly and it’s flash makes it visible to trout, even in murky water. I love to use the Copper John as the trailing nymph under something a little bigger, like a Girdle Bug or Prince Nymph. It’s a fish catcher, regardless of how you choose to fish it.

Tying the Adams.

The Adams, crafted on the banks of the Boardman River in Michigan in 1922 as a general mayfly imitation, remains a staple in dry-fly boxes to this day, simply because it gives trout a more-than-reasonable impression of any number of mayflies. Tied in smaller sizes, like a size 18 or 20, the Adams is a good pattern during a fall or spring Blue-winged Olive hatch. In bigger sizes, all the way down to a size 8, it can imitate anything from a Green Drake, a March Brown or even a Michigan Hex. 

It is maybe the most important dry fly ever tied, and you’d be hard-pressed to find a fly box that doesn’t have at least a few of these flies tucked inside.