Fly Fishing Flies Identification on 19 Common Flies Used Around the World
In this article, we will identify 19 different flies that are extremely popular around the world. These flies are used to catch trout, bass, panfish, walleye, salmon, steelhead, cutthroat, pike, goldeye, whitefish, etc. Some of the flies we will be identifying are used to imitate natural flies, but some are more used for searching patterns to see what the fish are up for biting.
Identifying the different flies used for catching fish is very important when you are getting started. This will help you to match the natural fly hatch that may be happening, and if you are successful in doing so, you may be able to land a whole pile of fish. These are tried and true patterns that have been around for decades. Using these 19 patterns before trying random other ones can usually result in catching fish faster.
Keep in mind my friends, many of these patterns will be tied in slightly different colors, but they do tend to stay quite similar, regardless of who is tying them.
Let's dive right in!
Popular Dry Flies
The Adams fly pattern is first on our list. It was created by Leonard Halladay all the way back in 1922. We use the Adams fly as a searching pattern as it imitates adult mayflies, caddis, or midges. A very common variation to this fly is the Parachute Adams.
If you would like to add the Adams to your fly case, it can be found here.
The Royal Coachman is exactly that, royalty. Trout from everywhere have fallen victim to this fly pattern, but especially the brook trout in Maine, which is why this fly was designed. The bright gold tail with the royal red body makes this hook stand out.
Your fly box is not complete without a few Royal Coachman’s in it, they can be found here.
Elk Wing Caddis
The Elk Wing Caddis is popular because caddis flies are in almost every water source there is. I literally caught 2 goldeyes last night on a Black Caddis. This is a small but deadly dry fly. Don't be afraid to add a little floatant to it, but I find it often doesn't need any.
If you think the Elk Wing Caddis would be a nice addition to your fly collection, it can be found here.
The Mosquito is famous for catching boat loads of fish, humans might hate them, but the fish love them. If the Mosquitos are out in full force, as in they are biting you nonstop, then throw one on your fly line! The fly is most commonly tied as black, white, and grey.
No fly fishing angler should be without a few Mosquitos, they can be found here.
The Blue Quill is the perfect imitation of early season mayflies. Trout fishermen everywhere flock to this pattern to help them land fish in their fly fishing nets. The blue is a very light and cool shade that peaks the fishes interest.
If you are fly fishing for trout or bass, the Blue Quill is your saving grace, they can be found here.
The Hendrickson Dark imitates dark colored mayflies. Fish of all sizes go after this fly pattern. Used by anglers from coast to coast, the Hendrickson is a well-known fly to match the first major mayfly hatch of the season.
Hendrickson Dark flies can be found here, if you are wanting to stock up.
Green and Grey Drake Long Tail
The Green and Grey Drake Long Tail pattern lands monster fish every day. Drakes are the most common type of mayfly, making this pattern popular everywhere. Getting out while a drake hatch is present is like winning the lottery for fly fishing enthusiasts.
I keep 3 Green and 3 Grey Drakes in my fly fishing vest at all times. If you want to purchase some, they can be found here.
Blue Dun Extended Body
The Blue Dun Extended Body is the go to fly for imitating mayflies. If the mayfly hatch is on and they are larger in size, then you might need these Blue Dun’s.
Add a few Blue Dun Extended Body patterns to your fly box, they can be found here.
The White Grasshopper pattern, along with all the other hopper patterns are absolutely deadly. When the natural grasshoppers are out in droves, don’t be afraid of tying one of these on your fly line. They work exceptionally well after a good rain as the naturals are washed into the river from the river banks.
If you want to go after large fish, snag a few of these Foam Hoppers, they can be found here.
The Klinkhammer Emerger is one of the most well-known emergers there are. Used on cloudier days or in murky water, the olive body gets the strikes, one after another. Zinger Fishing fishes the Klinkhammer as a dry fly.
Adding a few Klinkhammer’s to your fly arsenal would be smart, they can be found here.
Famous Wet Flies
The Woolly Bugger may be the single most wrong spelled fly pattern that exists, but that doesn’t stop it from being the most effective wet fly there is. Who hasn’t caught a fish off of a Woolly Bugger before!? This fly is perfect for 2 or 3-hook setups when nymphing.
I would say that it would be downright foolish not to have black and olive Woolly Bugger’s in your fly case at all times, they can be found here.
The Kaufmann’s Stonefly comes in multiple different colors, all of which I keep stocked in my fly case. When a stonefly hatch is on, you will wish to God that you had a few Kaufmann’s available to tie on your fly line. I caught a 3lb brown trout on a grey Kaufmann last week. Zinger Fishing fishes the Kaufmann as a wet fly.
I would suggest having 3 of each color in your fly box, they can be found here.
Micro Loop Egg
The Micro Loop Egg Fly is so small, yet so powerful. This small hook brings in massive trout, salmon, and steelhead. Fish love to feed on eggs, and that is exactly what this pattern imitates.
Zinger Fishing is constantly selling out of these Micro Loop Eggs for a reason, you can’t beat them. If we have any in stock, they can be found here.
Bead Head Scud
The Bead Head Scud is the perfect pattern when shrimp/scud are present in the water. They are damn popular, so popular in fact, that Zinger Fishing added them to our Nymph Kit. Fish love shrimp, anglers cannot go wrong with this pattern.
These Bead Head Scuds can be found here.
Most Used Nymphs
The Prince Nymph is the prince of the nymphing world. Fish go crazy for this fly pattern, which is why it made this list. Doug Prince created this fly back in the 1930's and ever since, it has only gotten more and more popular.
No fly box is complete without a few Prince Nymphs in them, if you are running low, you can find them here.
Pheasant Tail Nymph
The Pheasant Tail Nymph is often referred to as the single best attractor pattern for nymphs that exist. It is a boring and dull fly pattern, but who are we to judge what the fish love! Frank Sawyer created this nymph back in the early 1900’s to land trout out of England’s River Avon.
I don’t think I even have to say that you should have these Pheasant Tail Nymphs in your fly case, they can be found here.
Gold Bead Hare's Ear Nymph
The Gold Bead Hare’s Ear Nymph is a popular version of the world famous Hare’s Ear Nymph pattern. The gold bead helps the fly to sink faster in quicker moving currents. This pattern is in the top 5 most common nymph patterns that exist today.
Put a few in your fly case before your next fishing trip, they can be found here.
The Copper John comes in a few different colors and styles, but this pattern is just amazing. Imitating a mayfly, the Copper John is extremely effectful at getting down into the deep water columns quickly. Created by John Barr, the Copper John is one of the most famous nymph patterns used by fly fishing anglers around the globe.
Please tell me that you already have 3 or more of these, if not, you can stock up on them here.
The Zebra Midge is the most popular midge on the planet. It comes in different colors, but they all serve the same purpose, and that is catching fish, lots and lots of them. If chironomids are in the water, bust out the Zebra Midge! Zinger Fishing fishes the Zebra Midge as a nymph.
Zinger Fishing has multiple colors of this fly pattern, they can be found here.
WOW! Crazy List!
Now that is a list of flies that have caught more fish than anything else. Every angler that I know uses all these flies when out fly fishing, regardless if they are at the river, stream, or lake. There is a reason these fly patterns are famous, they work.
Out of the millions of fly patterns that have been created, these patterns stand out. Lot's of them are very simple, but that's what makes them work so well. On cloudy and murky water days, you want boring blacks, greys, and olive colors.
Buying flies individually can get costly, especially if you are buying quality flies. Zinger Fishing does offer fly kits to try and help customers save on these pricy flies. The kits can be found here.
Send us some pictures of fish you have caught using one of these hooks, or share it to our social media pages. We love to see what beauties get landed off of these cool fly patterns.
If you like reading about fly fishing, our Zinger Fishing blog has a wide variety of different articles. We cover places to fish, what patterns to use, techniques, gear, and everything else to help fellow anglers land more fish in their nets.