LaFontaine's Emergent Sparkle Pupa

A Great Fly from a Great Guy

As the dog days of summer approach, they bring with them some of the best opportunities to fish the popular summer-time insect hatch, the caddis fly.  This post starts a multi-part series on caddis patterns, so what better to start with than one of the most popular and effective caddis patterns out there, created by one of fly fishing's all-time greats:  Gary LaFontaine's Emergent Sparkle Pupa. 

lafontaine emergent sparkle pupa

Gary, who unfortunately passed away in 2002 from Lou Gherig's disease, was the consummate student when it came to insects, trout and fly fishing.  He was the author of several influential fly fishing and fly tying books and articles throughout his life.  His passion for observing, learning and analyzing the entire spectrum of fly fishing from insect hatches to trout light sensitivity is evident in the legacy he left the fly fishing world.  The Emergent Sparkle Pupa caddis pattern is just one example of this.  During his studies, much of it involving scuba gear and countless hours under water observing his subjects, he realized something very important.  Gary said "When a caddis fly pupa emerges it fills a transparent sheath around its body with air bubbles.  These globules of air shimmer and sparkle as they reflect sunlight, creating a highly visible triggering characteristic. This sparkle is the key to imitating the emergent caddisflies."

The key to this pattern is the sparkle yarn and the way it creates that "sheath" around the body of the fly.  Because of that, it's recommended that sparkle yarn or wool antron (not pure antron) be used in this pattern.  You typically want to fish the pattern in the surface film or possibly just below.  If you need to use floatant, a desiccant type product is recommended over a gel style.  Stay tuned for next week, we'll focus on a pattern that can be fished a little deeper.

Hook:  Daiichi 1150 #12- #18
Thread:  UTC Ultra thread 70 Brown
Tail/Body Shuck:  Sparkle Yarn (color to match naturals)

:  Sparkle Yarn mixed with
 U/V Hare's ear dubbing
Wing: Deer Hair (color to match)
Thorax: Fur dubbing (color to match)