Here is the fly pattern sheet for the Sparkle Dun mayfly.
Daiichi 1310 or any dry fly hook, #12 – 20
8/0 Uni or 70 denier Danville brown, tan, yellow (PMD), olive dun, or black
Zelon – mayfly brown, olive brown, dun
Superfine dubbing to match insect
Sparkle Dun or Comparadun deer hair – natural or dun
- Start thread behind eye of hook and wind halfway down hook shank, then halfway back towards eye. This is the proper tie-in point for deer hair. Placing thread on the hook in this manner prevents deer hair from spinning.
- Clean and stack a bundle of deer hair. (check Sparkle Dun Deer Hair comments below – using wrong deer hair won’t allow hair to flair, the major reason tyers have problems with this fly).
- Proper wing proportions should be length of hook.
- Extend tips past hook eye and tie in with two loose thread wraps. Pull straight down so deer hair flares. Do not let go of butt ends and wrap 8 – 10 times evenly toward tail to firmly secure hair. Trim or tear butt ends. (If hair rotates around hook shank, use fewer fibers. Very important to wrap on thread base.)
- Tie in hank of Zelon for tail, matching ends with deer hair to create body taper. I use 1/2 to 1/3 of hank for size 14 and 16.
- Move thread to back of deer hair.
- Sweep deer hair backwards to allow hair to stand straight up. Thread should be immediately behind deer hair. Sweep 1/3 of hair back and place 1 thread wrap securely in place by pulling straight down. (you’ll see hair flair and stand up). Sweep next 1/3 back and place 1 thread wrap securely in place and pull straight down. Sweep last 1/3 back and place 2 – 3 wraps at base of deer hair. This technique allows minimal thread wraps to stand deer hair up without a thread dam.
- Wrap thread to hook barb.
- Attach THIN amount of dubbing and wind forward, leaving one thread wrap behind deer hair (if you don’t, it will force hair forward). Bring dubbing directly in front of deer hair and begin figure eight wraps around hair. The first wrap behind hair, you’ll feel it snug tightly and force hair straight up. Remember, THIN dubbing will work better to create tapered body.
- Whip finish behind hook eye.
Here is a YouTube link of me tying a PMD Sparkle Dun.
The Sparkle Dun Mayfly is a style of fly that can be used for any mayfly. Coordinate the thread and body color.
#18 – 24
#14 – 18
#14 – 16
#10 – 12
Tan, ribbed w/brown thread
#18 – 22
Black or olive. Use white deer hair for wing if desired
#12 – 18
Gray or tan
#14 – 16
#14 – 16
#12 – 14
Tan, ribbed w/brown thread
Source: Fly Patterns of Yellowstone, Volume 2 by Craig Mathews & John Juracek
- Sparkle dun deer hair from Blue Ribbon Flies or look for the Nature Spirit brand in your local fly shop.
- Zelon – Mayfly brown most common color
- Watch Craig Mathews tie a PMD Sparkle Dun Mayfly
SPARKLE DUN MAYFLY DEER HAIR
This hair is primarily used for wings on sparkle duns and comparaduns. It is characterized by two things: the hair is hollow down into the tips, and the tips themselves are short and fine. Look for short black tips, which indicates most of hair is hollow. The overall length of the hair can be from one-half inch to over two inches. That isn’t important, though many tiers make the mistake of thinking it is. It is the tips of the hair that count; they should be hollow and fine. This allows the hair to flare properly for all sizes of flies, and provides good flotation as well. Sparkle dun deer hair is most commonly whitetail deer from a cold climate, killed in early winter.
For more information about PMDs and their life-cycle, check out my blog – Pale Morning Duns – PMDs.
John, while fishing at Craine Prairie, I experienced a significant hatch that I thought was a Callibaetis hatch. The problem was that the insect, had very clear wings and a dark green body. I’m not sure what it was but it looked more like this (below). Are there Green Drakes on Lakes? Sorry about the novice question. The body that I saw may have been even a darker shade of green.
John, I was looking at your patterns for the Sparkle Dun and Improved Sparkle Dun Mayflies. I think the difference is adding Zelon into the wing on the improved version. This isn’t mentioned in either the material list or the directions but u can see it in the photo.
Am I correct?
You are correct. The Improved Sparkle Duns use Zelon as a backing to the deer hair. For all flies except #14, use thread for the body. Using the thread creates a very slim body. Step 5 did mention that, but I’ve edited both the PMD and BWO instructions to provide greater clarity.