This week’s Throw Back Thursday Fly is the Delaware Adams TBT.

Delaware Adams | www.johnkreft.com

The Delaware Adams was created by Walt Dette for Art Lee to fish on the Delaware River around Hancock, NY. The fly is a cross between two famous classic dry flies; the Henryville Special and the Adams.

I found the Delaware Adams in Eric Leiser’s book about Walt and Winnie Dette and their daughter Mary Dette Clark and their impact on classic Catskill flies. The book is entitled The Dettes – A Catskill Legend (1992).

If you get a chance to buy this book, you won’t be disappointed. 

Half the book is an excellent read about the Dette’s role in creating and continuing the Catskill fly influence. The other half provides details about fly patterns and the techniques Walt and Winnie used to create their flies.

Fly tyers in the Dette era didn’t share the techniques used to create their flies. They were basically trade secrets. Rube Cross was a well-known fly tyer in the 1920’s and 30’s. Walt tried to get Cross to teach him to tie flies and his response was “go to hell”. Walt purchased some of Cross’ flies and took them apart to learn how the flies were tied. That was the beginning of their commercial tying business.

The Dettes were always willing to share how their flies were tied. Evidence of this fact is in Leiser’s book with detailed directions of how their flies were tied.

Flies included in the technique section include the Light Hendrickson, the Delaware Adams, the Coffin Fly, a Fan-Wing Coachman, the Gray Fox Variant, the Conover, a Dette Caddis, the Spotter Midge, the Dette Beetle, along with several other flies.

The Dettes sold their flies from home in Roscoe, NY. I believe their house and vises were at the epicenter of fly tying and were known as “the world’s leading dry-fly-tying experts.”

The Dette Fly Shop still exists in Roscoe, NY. I’ve provided a link to their website where I found the following on their About Us page:

“Established in 1928, Dette Trout Flies is the oldest family run fly shop in the world, now in our 89th year. Our mission has always been, and always will be, to supply the fly fishing community with the finest products and service. Every fly we sell is either tied in house or by a handful of select domestic tiers. Our ever growing selection of flies, fly tying materials, and fly fishing gear is comprised only of products that meet our demand for high quality standards.”

Enjoy…go fish!

UPDATE 11/2020 – The Dette Fly Shop About Me page now states the Roscoe store is closed. They’ve opened a larger location in Livingston Manor for their growing business.

(John Kreft is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to amazon.com.)

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