Adult Dragonflies

Discussion in 'Stillwater' started by robl, Oct 5, 2013.

  1. robl Member

    Posts: 423
    Richland WA
    Ratings: +7 / 0
    So I've always read in lots of standard lake texts that trout never really key on adult dragonflies.

    This made a lot of sense to me since the adults are crazy fast and there is just so much food under the water . . . why would they go up after low yield food sources.

    Two weeks ago I was fishing a basin lake with my dad and we both watched big trout go airborne again and again all afternoon chasing what looked like adult female dragonflies ovipositing.

    Never saw a fish actually get one but they jumped after them all day, sometimes coming four feet out of the water after them.

    Anyone else ever seen this or fished an imitation?

    Good to be back on the lakes.

    Tight lines.
  2. IveofIone Active Member

    Posts: 3,057
    Ratings: +1,069 / 0
    I fished a private lake near Prineville Oregon years ago and the owner was urging us to kill all the bass we could catch. I took 2 for dinner and both had stomachs so completely stuffed with adult dragons I wondered why the hell they were still feeding.

  3. chief Active Member

    Posts: 349
    Portland, OR
    Ratings: +123 / 1
    I have seen this on Chopaka in the Fall. It was fun to watch. We tied some flies to try and imintate them, but the fish seemed to only want the one's that were in the air. Around the campfire, after a few sips of whiskey, we came up with a scheme for the next day to tie our lines to the same fly and seperate in our tubes by about 40 feet. The plan was to pull our rods in opposite directions to lift the fly out of the water to make it look like it was flying. Unfortunately a storm came in over night and it was blowing 20MPH the next day and it didn't happen..... I still want to try it sometime.......
  4. Starman77 Active Member

    Posts: 176
    Kent, WA, USA.
    Ratings: +69 / 0
    Many years ago a friend kept a large brown trout from Lenice, and as he was cleaning it he thought that it had swallowed some cellophane or something similar to clear plastic, but it turned out that this large brown had swallowed 6 entire adult dragonflies! So, somehow this aggressive brown had managed to figure out how to successfully catch these adult dragonflies. Clearly, there are times when the trout do key in on those adult dragonflies, contrary to what we read in books.

    We had also discussed the technique described by chief, but we also never got around to trying it. Another technique we thought about was trying to position an adult dragonfly pattern on a bulrush reed or bushy twig that hung over the water and wait for a trout to knock it off and eat it, as we observed some trout do that with the naturals. Otherwise, trying to cast such a large pattern is awkward to say the least.

  5. Scudley Do Right Member

    Posts: 94
    Ratings: +22 / 0
    Yesterday at Nunnally they were trying to grab adults out of the air.
  6. Roger Stephens Active Member

    Posts: 1,199
    Ratings: +306 / 0
    In the 1990's I use to fish a lake on the Olympic Pensinula where large rainbow and cutthroat trout would come 1 to 2 feet out of the water as the female adult dragon flies were laying the eggs into the water in Sept. Often the fish were able to get them. It was pretty amazing to be able to see this occur. If the male and female dragon flies were mating and dipping down to the water surface, once in awhile a fish was able to get them both. It was like clock work this would happen on windless, warm(+65 degree F), sunny days between 11:30 AM until about 4 PM.

    i tied an adult dragon fly foam pattern and had some great fishing using it. You could see the fish moving around in certain areas grabbing the adult dragon flies. The best strategy was to cast the pattern into the area and let it sit there and twitch it once in awhile. After a minute or so it would be time to make another cast. Sometimes the fish would hit the pattern as soon as it landed on the water. A big problem was that the pattern would spin when casting and cause leader tangling.

    I tied the pattern using foam strips wrapped around a long shank hook with zinger(clear) material for the wings. It floated okay but not great. I have wanted to tied it on HMH tube material for much better floatation but have not gotten around to it. I was going to put a small swivel on the leader to help minimize leader twisting but I have not done that yet either.

    It has been over 10 year since I last fished the lake and need to do it again on a warm, windless Sept. day!

  7. Travis Bille Active Member

    Posts: 658
    McKinleyville, CA
    Ratings: +362 / 0
    I was at Lewiston lake in CA on windy day. There were a ton of dragonflies flying around and when a gust would kick up, the water would just explode with fish going after the downed dragonflies.

    And at manzanita lake, also in CA, I saw a brown hunting mselfies that were on some vegetation hanging over the water. It would launch itself into the reeds and stuff and knock them into the water. It was really cool.
  8. Irafly Active Member

    Posts: 3,621
    Everett, Washington, USA.
    Ratings: +1,053 / 1
    I witnessed a similar event at Lenice one year with orange short bodied dragonflies. The fish were attempting to knock them out of the air in the middle of the lake and the action was just to tempting to ignore. At first I tried some blue adult dragons that I had tied for bass but the fish ignored them all together. Next I went with a large sofa pillow dry that at least had orange in it. Again a lot of ignoring until I figured out to throw right where a fish attempted to knock one out of the air. I ended up only hooking up two times in the frenzy but both hook ups were a blast. I've experienced similar results with adult damsels when fish are trying to take them mid air (although I did witness my first ever mid air take of an adult damsel this year). I love the idea of two people tied to the same fly and there is noway I am not going to try that when the time is right.
  9. nz trout bum Member

    Posts: 86
    Seattle, WA
    Ratings: +1 / 0
    That behavior is somewhat common on several NZ lakes. Pretty cool to see 5 to 7 pound browns clearing the water. Two years ago on Corbitt Lake in BC I saw a massive take 30 feet from my boat on a mating pair stuck in the surface film on a windy day. We have also talked about the two rod plan. The guy with the line to the bend of the hook will be using 2 pound test and will break away. At least that is the theory.
  10. Stonefish Triploid and Humpy Hater

    Posts: 3,860
    Pipers Creek
    Ratings: +1,262 / 1
    I had a banner day at Dry Falls in September a few years ago.

    I've also fished a westside lake that has a crazy hatch of reddish / brown adult dragons in the fall.
    Many time the fish would jump and hit the dragon, knocking it into the water. Quickly there would be another swirl as they finished things off.

    A well placed cast near where the fish landed back in the water after the initial jump almost always resulted in a hook up.
  11. Derek Young 2011 Orvis Endorsed Fly Fishing Guide Of The Year

    Posts: 2,673
    Snoqualmie, WA
    Ratings: +851 / 1
    I watched adult dragonflies eat adult october caddis in the air today on the Yakima.
    Greg Armstrong and Mark Kraniger like this.
  12. Old406Kid Active Member

    Posts: 318
    Spokane, WA
    Ratings: +87 / 0
    Would this require a "two pole endorsement"?:)
  13. Go Fish Language, its a virus

    Posts: 1,281
    Rheomode, Wa.
    Ratings: +91 / 0
    I have had mixed results using adult dragons. Most of
    the time it is just frustration as you watch fish shoot
    out of the water all around you. Best tactic I have
    found is to cast to the risers giving the fly a bunch
    of twitches or stripping it back even sub surface.

    I too have fished the lake Roger wrote about. Fish jumping
    all over the place after dragons. wow
  14. Ryan Higgins Active Member

    Posts: 303
    East Wenatchee, WA
    Ratings: +33 / 0
    Straight out of a Gierach book iirc. He was in a competition with some friends on a small beaver pond chasing brookies. The fish were keying in on small gnats that were bouncing on the water. His friends did this technique with small gnat flies dancing them on and off the water. Love his stories.