Albert R. Mann Library
Dry flies

An artificial fly designed to float on the surface of the water. Dry flies usually represent the adult, winged forms of insects. Wet flies, in contrast, are designed to sink, and may represent eggs, larvae, pupae, nymphs, baitfish, tadpoles, crayfish and other underwater prey.

In the late 19th century, a small group of British anglers, led by George Selwyn Marryat and Frederic Halford, refined and formalized the practice of dry fly fishing. Halford’s books, including Floating Flies and How to Dress Them, published in 1886, and Dry Fly Fishing in Theory and Practice, published in 1889, were hugely influential.