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Mahogany Dun

Scientific Name: genus Paraleptoplebia

Common Names: Mahogany dun, paralep


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

NYMPH COLOR: Dark brown, olive-brown

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

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

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

SPINNER COLOR: Females: reddish-brown. Males: same, but middle of abdomen clear or white

OTHER CHARACTERISTICS: Nymphs have "tuning fork" gills along the side of the abdomen, and three tails. Duns have three tails; the hind wings are rounded.


Mouse-over for alternate views: Dun    Spinner 1    Spinner 2

About Mahogany Duns

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, fish have time to examine everything, from the quality of your imitation to your leader to 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.

Articles About Mahogany Duns

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Western Hatches: Mahogany Duns Mahogany duns--also known as "paraleps" are an important fall hatch that calls for special tactics. Dave Hughes and Rick Hafele


Dun. (photo © 2006 Arlen Thomason. Used by permission.)


Female spinner. (photo © 2006 Arlen Thomason. Used by permission.)


Male spinner. (photo © 2006 Arlen Thomason. Used by permission.)

Matching Mahogany Duns

Only standard fly patterns are shown. Click here for all matching flies in the database.







Hares Ear, Pheasant Tail, A. P. Nymph

12-16/Dark brown, olive brown

Indicator, Tight line, Shallow nymph

Slow-moderate runs, bankwater


Quigley Cripple


Standard dry fly

Bankwater, backeddies, slow runs

Floating Nymph


Shallow nymph

Bankwater, backeddies, slow runs


Parachute Hares Ear, Sparkle Dun, Thorax Dun, Comparadun, No Hackle


Standard dry fly

Bankwater, backeddies, slow runs


Hen Spinner


Standard dry fly


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