What’s the perfect mayfly dun profile? It depends on the water you’re fishing in, but on a calm river nothing beats the lucid print from a No Hackle.
There are basically three popular ways to tie a dun. The Catskill way, the No Hackle version and the Paradun. In my opinion, nothing beats a No Hackle on calm water. The reason is simple. Both the Catskill and the Paradun creates a fuzzy image on the water. The hackle on a Catskill simply masks the body and thorax of a well tied dry fly. The Catskill will of course catch fish, but when those trout get choosy and difficult to tease, a more well presented body is needed.
There has been advances in fly tying. The most popular pattern nowadays are the Paradun (Parachute) and the No Hackle. The latter pattern is normally fished by using the Comparadun.
Above is a series of pictures taken through a wine glass, showing the almost perfect footprint of my Evening Dun (Ephemerella Ignita). This dry fly is based on the No Hackle by Swisher/Richards. The Evening Dun uses a different technique for tying the wing. The wing is tied by using three CdC feathers, tied in parallel to the shank of the hook (instructions here). The fly has a high and robust wing that allows the fly to float low in the water, thus creating an appealing profile.
Examining the Paradun
Below are examples of the Paradun and how the fly is viewed from the trout’s perspective. It is obvious that the image is fuzzier than for the Evening Dun (No Hackle) above. You can see the hackle barbs clearing in the film. This fly is gently tied with a sparse and level parachute. Imagine what this look like when you go crazy on the hackle.