The Sparkle Dun is one of my favorite small dry fly patterns when faced with glassy, clear water, and finicky fish. It is fished most effectively on the dead drift, and like most dry flies, try to get the fly to the fish before your line for the best results. It sits low in the water like the naturals, yet is still quite visible. The Sparkle Dun Baetis is shown here but by changing the color of the body and the size of the fly any hatch can be matched with this simple yet highly effective pattern.
Here is the list of materials I use when tying this pattern:
Hook: TMC 100 sizes 14-26
Thread: Uni-Thread 8/0 Olive Dun
Wing: Short Fine Gray Deer Hair
Shuck: Olive Antron or Z-Lon
Abdomen: Gray Olive Superfine Dubbing
Thorax: Gray Olive Superfine Dubbing
Insert the hook into your vise and start your thread. Coat the front half of the shank of the hook with thread and stop the thread approximately half a gap of the hook away from the eye of the hook. Now cut, comb, and stack a clump of deer hair. This will form the wing of the fly and should be roughly twice as much hair as you would typically put into a standard parachute. Tie this in where your thread is stopped using the pinch technique. All the hair should remain on the top side of the hook and be 1 ½ times the gap of the hook from the tie in point to the tips. The tips of the deer hair should be facing the eye of the hook. Use three or four tight thread wraps to secure the hair and then taper cut the butts of the wings and wrap your thread over them, forming a tapered underbody. Move your thread to the bend of the hook.
At the bend tie in the shuck. The biggest mistake people make here is tying in a shuck that is too thick so use the antron sparingly. Once the antron has been securely tied in, clip off the excess antron that is extending toward the eye of the hook. Now clip the shuck so that it is approximately 1 ½ times the gap of the hook in length. Cut it straight across. Next, using the tips of your scissors, make the shuck have an uneven look to it by trimming the ends of the antron so the tips are not even.
Using the Superfine Dubbing dub a small tapered abdomen up to where the wing was tied in at. Use only enough dubbing to make the thread fuzzy, if you use too much the fly will be too bulky and look unnatural to the fish.
Now, using your fingers, sweep the wing back towards the bend of the hook and move your thread to the front side of the wing. Make several wraps, 5-8, directly at the base of the wing to force it to stand up. Now using your fingers spread the wing so that it covers the top 180 degrees of the hook.
Using the dubbing make your thread fuzzy again and dub the thorax. It should start from the front of the wing and gradually taper down to the eye of the hook. It may be necessary to make a couple of wraps behind the wing to clean things up before dubbing the thorax.
Whip Finish behind the eye of the hook.