The Sparkle Dun is a fly that is much touted by many expert fly fishermen. It's a fly that I like to tackle every now and again because it's hard to tie well despite how simple it is. It's composed of a fan shaped deer hair wing, a thorax of dubbing and a few strands of antron for a shuck.
It's design addresses the issue our reader, Ben, commented on in our last post about the Parachute Adams. It rides low and leaves a specific dimpling pattern in the water that says, "Hey look at me! I'm emerging. I'm helpless!"
It's on a bunch of top ten lists for Dry Flies to picky trout.
I fished this fly exclusively at Rock Creek this last year and it works. Fish eat this fly.
For me this fly is a blessing and a curse.
Hard to see at a distance - because it is typically tied with natural materials like deer hair, it can get lost on the water. Especially if fishing small sizes like 18s. I can see a 14 no problem and a 16 most of the time, but not if I have to cast more than 25 feet away.
Difficult to tie correctly - the proportions are hard to get right. It is easy to make the body too long or too short. Getting the wing to post vertical and not sag or start to droop after it gets wet is tough for a beginning tyer like me. It requires very high quality fine deer hair that can be hard to track down. This is not a beginner fly.
It sinks a little sooner than a parachute fly or a foam fly of the same size. I find I have to retire a fly sooner because the wing breaks down or becomes water logged.
It catches fish! Even persnickety ones.
It will float a light weight nymph.
Easy to cast
Lands lightly on the water
Works in all sizes from 20 up to monster size 10 flies - so you can match any mayfly with this one pattern.
Hopefully, with time this fly will be easier to tie for me and I won't dread trips to a stream where the fishing report calls for sparkle duns. Curse you Craig Matthews and your Montana streams with educated trout (he loves to recommend this fly).