Gary LaFontaine’s book Caddisflies, published in 1981, completely revolutionized the ways that anglers understood caddisfly behavior, how trout reacted to it, and how imitations should be tied and fished. LaFontaine, who died of Lou Gehrig’s disease in 2002, had spent a decade studying caddisflies, even donning SCUBA gear to observe the underwater lives of these varied insects. One of his most important findings was that many species of caddisfly pupae rise to the water’s surface via an air sac that surrounds the abdomen. This “bubble” became the signature feature of the patterns LaFontaine invented to mimic these pupae.
In this video, by Tim Flagler of Tightline Productions, Matt Grobert ties his version of a LaFontaine Sparkle Emerger. Grobert, an author and blogger, deviates from LaFontaine’s original, making the tying process somewhat simpler. Designed as an emerger, this pattern can quickly transformed into a Deep Sparkle Pupa by simply cutting off the deer-hair wing. As usual, there are a couple of neat tying tricks on display that you can use for tying all the LaFontaine patterns. For instance, note how Matt ties one bunch of Antron slightly larger than the other, so he can snip some of the fibers later for a trailing shuck. You’ll also learn why it’s important to keep the materials sparse to create a translucent effect in the water.
LaFontaine’s Sparkle Emerger
Hook: Standard dry-fly hook (here a Tiemco 100), sizes 12-18.
Thread: Black, 6/0.
Underbody and shuck: Golden yellow Antron, carded.
Body: Yellow-brown Antron.
Wings: Natural deer hair, cleaned and stacked.
Thorax: Brown Australian possum dubbing.
Note: Pick out the Antron to create a
“bubble” around the body.