Our life is frittered away by detail. Simplify, simplify Thoreau once said. So why make things complicated? Here are some basic mayfly patterns. Though do not confuse basic with below average quality. Maybe a better word for them should be standard mayflies - mayfly patterns you always need to have at hand. They are easy to tie, they are cheap if you buy them and they resemble one of the most common food source for fish. Sure, there are 50 something spieces of mayflies, but I think only twelve spieces are somewhat important to know. And by imitating them you will cover the most of the many other spieces.
Back to the point to simplify. There are tons of mayfly patterns, some of them require alot of materials, other are overy complicated and more often than not outrageously expensive if you decide to buy them. One thing that comes to mind is Halford, the symbolic father of the modern dry fly who is known for creating hard to replicate dry flies. And he did that on purpose so that people had to buy flies from him. Eventually these fly fishermen moved on to using much more simple mayfly patterns. As a side note I've actually tied some of Halfords legendary flies,many of which required horse mane, and used them on rivers, without any particular success when compared to using my own mayfly patterns. Im sure many other fly fishermen will have had similar experiences - complicated flies doesn't catch more fish.
The pattern I use Like many other I value time highly. And because fish hardly think about if the mayfly you use is realistic or not and/or features horse mane, I have decided to stick with the most simple and effective pattern possible. This means that I can tie them quick, I save more money and get more time on the river.
Hook: Any dry fly hook Tail: Fibers from synthetic brushes Body: Turkey biot quills (I perfer Hareline's products) Ribbing: Thread Wings: CDC or polypropylene - I don't think there is any difference, it's just a matter of what you like Thorax: Fine dubbing That's it. Works like a charm.