Mahogany Dun

Common Names: Paralep
Scientific Name: genus Paraleptoplebia

You have two shots at this hatch: spring and fall. Unfortunately, many anglers miss the first opportunity in April and May because either the rivers are swollen with runoff, or anglers totally focused on blue-winged olives and salmonflies .

Although mahogany dun nymphs spend much of their lives in fast water, they migrate to the quiet margins as they mature. Thus most hatches occur in slow, almost slack water near shore. Because the hatches are usually sputtering, sporadic events and because the duns drift a long while in slow water, trout will rise eagerly but not aggressively. For that reason this is a difficult hatch to fish well.

Nymph fishing can be productive beginning an hour before the hatch, but you need to take considerable care with your presentation and in how you approach the trout. Because you're fishing slow water, trout have time to examine everything: the quality of your imitation; your leader; you. Sneak up on the fish and keep yourself hidden as much as possible. Make your presentations subtle, not splashy.

The real delight, however, is during the hatch itself. Trout rise lazely to sip the duns near the bank, so all the action is at your feet. As with the green drakes , don't cast until you know where a feeding fish is lying. A downstream presentation is usually best because the trout sees the fly before the line or leader. Duns sometimes emerge just below the surface, a situation that suggests an emerger or floating nymph pattern.

Spinners can be important from dusk to dark. Mahogany dun spinners tend to land with their wings upright, rather than the typical spread-eagle posture. So a dun imitation can do double duty. Note that male and female duns have very different appearance.


How to Match a Mahogany dun

Hatches are matched from Westfly's database of "standard" fly patterns.

Size 12-16 Hares Ear, Pheasant Tail. Red-brown body, gray wing
Bankwater, backeddies, slow runs: indicator, tight line, shallow nymph
Size 12-16 Quigley Cripple, Film Critic, Hackle Stacker. Red-brown body, gray wing
Bankwater, backeddies, slow runs: standard dry fly
Size 12-16 Hairwing Dun, Sparkle Dun, Comparadun. Red-brown body, gray wing
Bankwater, backeddies, slow runs: standard dry fly
Size 12-16 Comparadun, Sparkle Dun, Hairwing Dun. Red-brown body, gray wing
Bankwater, backeddies, slow runs: standard dry fly


NYMPH COLOR: Dark brown, olive-brown

DUN SIZE: 7-12 mm (1/4 to 1/2 in)

DUN COLOR: Wings--smoky. Body--reddish-brown

SPINNER SIZE: 7-12 mm (1/4 to 1/2 in)

SPINNER COLOR: Female--reddish-brown. Male--same as females, but middle of abdomen clear or white

OTHER CHARACTERISTICS: Nymph--"tuning fork" gills along side of abdomen; three tails. Dun--three tails; hind wings are rounded.