fly fishing videos
Return to all Fly Fishing Videos

How to Tie a Purple Haze

Producer: Tim Flagler  |  Tightline Productions

The Purple Haze is a purple-bodied variation of the classic Parachute Adams.  It was developed in Montana in the early 2000s and quickly became popular all over the west.

Tim Flagler, tier and videographer, says: “Begin by getting your ever-so-purple tying thread secured to the hook shank, leaving some space behind the eye, and take a few wraps rearward before snipping off the tag. Andy [Carlson, the originator of this pattern] uses speckled moose body hair for the tails and so I’ll do the same. For this size 12 about 8 hairs works well.”

Bookmark the permalink.
  • Fred Rickson

    Just to be the Devil’s advocate for a moment, if I gave a new name to every color, tail, or hackle variation I have tied an Adams in over the past 30 years, the pattern literature would be fatter than a gulper here on Hebgen Lake in the middle of a Callibaetis spinner fall.

    • Tightline

      Can’t that be said for just about all fly patterns Fred? But what is it that allows a fly to be recognized by a specific name and a single person to get credit for it? Is it the number of people who have had success using it? How well it has sold? What books it has appeared in? How many videos have been produced showing how it’s tied? Sadly, I don’t know.

      What I do know is, “Purple Haze” is very cool name for a fly, it has proven itself to be effective just about everywhere it has been fished, it has sold like hot cakes for 13+ years, and all fingers point to Andy Carlson of Hamilton, MT as being its originator. Are you saying those fingers should point elsewhere, say, toward Hebgen Lake?

      • Fred Rickson

        I didn’t mean my note to be anything about me; it was about adding a new name to a well established fly just because some minor change is made. For instance, I had a fishing friend in the early 1970s who liked to fish attractor patterns. He found tying a Royal Coachman too complicated, so he would tie an Adams using pink or orange floss for the body. Worked well, but there is no cute name in the literature because he just called them a pink or orange Adams. And, his name brings up an image of what the fly looks like…..Purple Haze really says nothing for what is a standard Adams with a purple body. But, it is all fun in the end.

  • BH206L3

    Well, I look at it this way, the fly is effective, if it was not, it would not be popular not would it. The Adams has been a main stay dry fly since Christ was a corporal. Along the way from the original pattern, variations have come about, the use of moose hair for tails, I stated doing than back in 1980 because I wanted something more durable, I even tie and Hare’s Ear Adams., don’t laugh it works. I don’t know why a purple thread bodied fly works, it just dose. I like effective easy to tie patterns that I can tie with easy to come by materials. This one works on that principle. While I enjoy tying flies, I would rather fish.

  • Mike Miller

    Very nice, I am going to twist a few.

  • Pingback: How to Tie the Purple Haze - Skiff Life - Flats and Back Bay Fishing()

  • Pingback: Anyone use purple flies? - Fly Fishing Forums()

  • Nymphermaniac

    It’s what the fish see from underneath that is most important. No doubt, the Parachute Adams is in the top two dries. If you REALLY want durability, try South American Peccary, in place of moose hair. (Don’t laugh again.) Google Oscar Feliu. One of the greatest tyers I have been privileged to know and tie with.