Every fishing season I keep a rough record of fly patterns I use most, hoping to remind myself to make sure I have a surplus for the next year. I'd say I have 15 or so patterns that I rely on pretty heavily, with one in particular, the Sparkle Dun, being my hands-down favorite for imitating mayflies.
The Sparkle Dun plays off the deer hair wing and dubbing body that made the comparadun famous, but adds a bit of zelon to the tail, making the pattern resemble an emerging mayfly still attached to its nymphal shuck. The beauty of this pattern is its simplicity. It doesn't require many materials and is a quick tie, perfect when you have to crank out a dozen in the early morning hours before hooking up the boat. Versatility wise, the Sparkle Dun floats high in the water and can be fished throughout a mayfly hatch, imitating emergers, cripples, duns and spinners. Heck, clip the wing and add some lead to you leader and you have yourself a nymph!
I carry a variety of Sparkle Duns to "match" various hatches out here in Jackson Hole. When fishing the Snake or Green rivers, I make sure I have plenty of PMDs, Grey Drakes and BWOs (baetis for those of you who insist on Latin...) Tying these patterns only requires changing hook size and body color.
In the next few days, look for a video showing how to tie this fantastic pattern.