Pattern Damsel Nymphs

Thomas Williams

Habitual Line Stepper
Sweet ties everyone. It made me hit the vice and keeping it simple in mind and adding a tiny bit of color... this is what I came up with. I think they will be effective.



Active Member
I too have many different styles of damselfly nymph patterns but this simple guy works best for me:

I use pretty much the same thing but with a partridge hackle collar and 4 of the really small centipede legs(Silly legs i think they are called)


Chris, no flash strands, just the lighting. For some reason, I haven't had much luck adding flash to the tail of leech and WB patterns. I know some folks use flash but it doesn't seem to make any difference in my patterns so I don't add it.


When it comes to the Cascade Lakes in Oregon, damselfly nymphs are THE pattern to use.

Before the illegally planted LMB showed up in Crane Prairie, the damsel fly hatches were HUGE. There were so many natural bugs hatching, you had a heck of a time convincing the trout your bug imitation was legit. The naturals would climb all over your tube in an effort to hatch. You were best was to try your bogus bugs before and after the hatches.


I don't know how the devil I forgot about this one. The pattern was sent to me in 1996 when I was writing the fly tying column for Western Flyfishing magazine.

It was created by Jay Paulson and as he lived in Seattle, he fished Rocky Ford, and the seep lakes. One day he noticed a damselfly nymph crawl onto his tube and it was very light in color. He tied up a pattern to match the color and it worked at all the fisheries named above.

He called the pattern "Blondie" and it is tied in light tan and olive. You guys in Washington might give the pattern a try. During one weekend he caught fish at RF, Dry Falls and Lenore with Blondie.

Here she is:

that is a cool pattern, although i never really understood why people always put big marabou tails on damsel patterns. but maybe the tail on the fly represents a portion of the body and its movement in general? not sue but hey whatever works. i am going to try my hand at tying a damsel when i get the rest of my tying materials next month ,it is a ways off but ill post my ties here.


Brandon, if you've ever watched a damselfly nymph swim to the surface, it does so with a pronounced wiggle motion. In fact, the old fly anglers called them "wiggle bugs".

Plus, the abdomen of a damselfly nymph is quite long. The wiggle motion and the long bodies is the reason most folks use long marabou.

Long ago, Dave Whitlock created a pattern with recreating the wiggle motion in mind. It may very well been the first "articulated" fly pattern. You used two hooks for the body. The rear hook was tied as the back section of the abdomen. After it was tied, the hook was cut off at the bend. Then, with wire, the hook eye of the rear section was tied to the hook shank of the forward section leaving room for the rear section to move freely.

The rest of the body and the thorax were tied on the forward hook.

Of course nowadays you can buy a rear shank with no hook but an eye for attaching to the forward hook. But at the time, Whitlock's pattern was revolutionary.

I tied some and they do indeed wiggle. I can't say that they work any better than the patterns shown above but he did nail the wiggle motion of the abdomen.