March Brown Sparkle Dun Banner

March Brown Sparkle Dun by Steve Yates 

Hook: Favorite dry fly, size 12/14 this one is a TMC 100 size 12
Thread: Uni Rusty Brown 6/0
Trailing Shuck: Zelon or Antron
Wing: Med natural Costal Deer
Body: Superfine March Brown dubbing

The Sparkle Dun is one of those patterns that has evolved over time from a compilation of ideas from many different tiers and patterns. Essentially, the fly is a Comparadun with a yarn tail that represents the shuck the dun has just emerged from. It's a clever and deadly variation. Fran Betters' Haystack and Al Caucci and Bob Nastasi's Comparadun are very similar type patterns, and were most likely the inspiration for Craig Mathews' and John Juracek's Sparkle Dun. Why does it work so well?

Because a dun that has just emerged from the shuck has to dry its wings before it can fly off. The dun floats helplessly before it can become airborne, making it an easy target for a surface-feeding trout.

March Browns typically hatch at the surface in slow moving water. The nymphs are of the clinger type and are very adept at life in the fastest flowing parts of the stream. They move from the riffles to slower water as they near maturity and will often be found adrift just prior to the hatch. The Sparkle Dun is a good slow water fly, but due to it's lack of hackle it doesn't float very well in the faster sections of the stream. What I like to do during a hatch like this is to find a riffle that empties into a slow moving pool. Fish will often stack up right at the drop off as the hatch starts while taking the nymphs. By the way, a Hare's Ear makes a fairly good imitation of the stout bodied nymph. As the hatch progress the fish will spread out in the back eddies and slower water waiting on the dun to emerge. The duns will often flap their wings and make a couple of false starts before being able to get airborne. Often you will see fish holding just beneath the surface tipping just their heads up to sip in the duns. A sure sign that fish are feeding on the surface is when you see the white of the inside of their mouths, and bubbles on the surface.

Any questions or comments can be sent to me at

Step 1 

Step 1- Attach the thread behind the hook eye and lay a thread base for the wing. This will help grip the wing material.


Step 2 

Step 2- Clean and stack a clump of hair about a shank length long. Tie in at about the 1/3 point on the hook shank. Tie the hair in so that some of it extends down and around the hook. Careful though, don't let the hair spin around the hook. Do not release your grip on the wing while making 6 or 8 firm wraps of thread to tie the wing down.


Step 3 


Step 3- Grasp the butt ends of the wing and trim them at an angle. This will help incorporate the tail fibers and give the body a nice natural looking taper.



Step 4 


Step 4- Cover the trimmed butts of the wing with thread. Trim any excess as short as you can. Don't worry too much about covering them completely. The dubbing will cover them later.



Step 5 

Step 5- Tie in the material for the trailing shuck. I like the shuck to be just a little shorter than the shank length. Tie it right up against the wing butts to help make a smooth transition. Now cover the wing butts and tail material with thread forming a nice smooth naturally tapered body. This is important, it makes dubbing a smooth tapered body much easier if you have a evenly tapered underbody.

Step 6 


Step 6- Dub a tapered body to a point just past the wing butt's and tie in point. Be sure to dub enough forward, this will help gather the wing material in a clump at the front of the fly.


Step 7 


Step 7- Grasp the clump of hair used for the wing and pull it up and backwards while creasing the hair with your thumbnail to help stand it upright. Now make several wraps of thread in front of the wing to build a small thread dam. 


Step 8 


Step 8- Now you can finish dubbing the thorax and whip finish.


Step 9 

Step 9- Take your fingers and pull the wing hair fibers down and apart while equally dividing the hair to make a fan shape. The wing should have a fan or half moon shape and may need adjusting from time to time while fishing.

*Note about Comparadun hair. The hair should be thin in diamater to avoid bulk at the tie in point and should be soild with short dark tips. The importance of choosing the right hair is very important. If you have any questions, ask someone at the fly shop you purchase it from to help you. Just tell them you want the hair for comparaduns.

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