Damselfly Nymph

Discussion in 'Fly Tying' started by GAT, Sep 21, 2013.

  1. I don't know why but I keep trying to come up with a new damselfly nymph pattern. Most likely because I haven't found one yet that seems to work consistently. Lately, I've been using Pseudo Hair (Hareline) instead of marabou for my experimental patterns. Pseudo Hair has the same "wiggle" properties of marabou when wet and isn't as fragile.

    I've noticed that a damselfly nymph is quite bulbous at the head and thorax so I'm working on a pattern that is weight forward. I like the looks of this one but ultimately, it is up to the fish.

  2. I tie a wiggle damsel similar, but articulated. I'll see if I have any laying around.
  3. I've tried the articulated style and they haven't worked all that well for me. I do the best with a black bead head mini Turbo Leech but I'm hell-bent on coming up with something that includes the big eyes.
  4. I couldn't find any, so I whipped one out. It seems to work real well in late spring on local lakes. A friend I gave one to said it rocked at chopaka. IMG_20130921_132901.jpg
  5. Gene, I, too have tied a multitude of Damsel nymph creations over the years, but keep coming back to the Casual Dress nymph. I tie mine either with a brown or golden olive ostrich hurl head, & tend to favor cottontail bunny hair for the wing & tail or very close to the one in the attached link (also with the brown hurl head). My bodies are either gray or golden olive. It has produced well for me over the years, particularly when fish get selective.
  6. I can relate to that. I have an entire side of a box dedicated to the little buggers and am still looking for the "magic" pattern, but it is fun trying and tying new patterns. I have the casual dress in my summer river boxes, never thought about lakes but now that Jim brings it up it makes great sense with all of that movement. Another excuse to head to the bench!
  7. Those are some good looking damselfly nymphs. Trip..., the articulated patterns I've tried look similar to yours... for me, sometimes they work, sometimes they don't. I tied my first one following a pattern created by Dave Whitlock... in those days, we had to use bead chain eyes because dumbbell eyes hadn't been created yet. We also had to use two hooks and broke the hook bend and spear off the trailing shaft because secondary shanks we not available.. yet.

    It was the first pattern I'd ever seen that was "articulated". Of course Whitlock didn't call it that but as usual, named the pattern after himself :)

    I never thought of trying a Casual Dress during a damselfly hatch. Guess I'll need to try that approach.

    When you watch the little buggers swim to the surface, they do indeed wiggle like crazy. I even attached a lip to one of my experimental patterns in hopes to create that wiggle motion -- it didn't work.

    I first heard of fishing a damselfly nymph under a bobber ( :p ) long ago before the LMB destroyed the great trout fishery at Crane Prairie. As with Ira, those who were not as easily bored as I, did fantastic with the technique... and they still do. Ira would clean up at Crane and if he lived closer to the fishery, I'm sure he'd become one of the ACE fly anglers at Crane.

    Using indicators has become the go-to technique for flyfishing at Crane... Damselfly nymphs or midges.

    I'll continue my quest. For some reason, the damselfly nymph is one of those bugs I find fascinating. I'd hate to think I need to resort to the bobber system but I can use it, I guess, if I have to...:D

    Now... the real tough bug to imitate the movement is the adult damselfly. I've only fished a couple of lakes where I've seen the fish jump out of the water to take an adult damselfly while it is hovering over the surface... one lake that comes to mind is Hosmer. The Atlantics in the lake love to jump out of the water to grab the bugs in midair. I've never been able to mimic a hovering damselfly nymph... this thing called gravity keeps getting in the way.

    I need to come up with a radio controlled pattern, based on a tiny helicopter, to adequately imitate a hovering damselfly adult. :cool:
    Russ Kendall likes this.
  8. Mine is done old school. I just buy cheap hooks and clip em. Cheaper than extensions. The eyes are two glass beads(which means no bad backcasts). The two hooks are connected with a simple loop of mono. I tie them in bright insect green as most of the live ones I see around here are practically chartreuse.
  9. Lends new meaning to the term "Hover Fly," Gene. Maybe substitute tiny helium-filled balloons for eyes . . . ? How about a "Paraglide Damsel Nymph?
  10. Two glass beads? How the hell did you tie them on so they extend to the side? I assumed they were dumbbell eyes. Whitlock used mechanic's wire to create the attaching loop but I think mono would work better. One key may be the large eyes, however, the pattern that works for me is this guy... with or without the shell back. It has no eyes but a black bead head... I'm bound and determined to come up with a damselfly nymph pattern with big eyes! Dammit! It's supposed to have big damn eyes! :D


    I'm using the Pseudo Hair the same as I do marabou for my Turbo Leech patterns. A section of fibers create the tail, the body and the legs so it is quick to tie... less is more. Guess I'm into my Pseudo Hair period.

    I'm at a point in my life where coming up with patterns that work to catch fish is something I find as interesting as actually catching fish. That's why I'm always tying something a little different. The thrill is if the pattern works. I can always fall back on a proven pattern if the experimental fly doesn't work. In the beginning, it was all about catching fish... now, it's about fooling the guys with something new that I created.
    Richard Olmstead and Tacoma Red like this.
  11. Tiny balloons may be the answer! :D
  12. I simply find a reed area where fish are jumping up to attempt to take adult damsels out of mid air. I then place a stake at one side of the weed line and another stake at the other side and tie a taut line of mono about 2' off the surface of the water between the stakes. Next I back my boat up, anchor and then cast my balance adult damsel across the line and "bounce" it up and down on the water and then up. Ok, I've never actually done this but it should work in theory anyway. I did once have a damsel wrap around a reed and in the process of trying to untangle it have it land in the water and then pull back up a gain. A fish did try to eat it with no luck.

    In truth I have only once ever seen a trout successfully eat a damsel out of mid air, most of the time they are simply attempting to nock them out of the air into the water. That's why it is better in these situations to cast to the big splashy rises hoping that the fish will come back around to inspect it's success.

    I fished Crane this year with Mark and micro leeches under indicators worked well. Yeah, I'd love to dial in that lake.
  13. I made on very similar to one posted above.

    • Hook: Articulated hook, Rear hook Daiichi 1770 #10 cut off at tail. Lead hook Daiichi 1130 #12
    • Thread: White 8/0 Uni-Thread for abdomen
      Olive 8/0 Uni-Thread for thorax
    • Tail: Three olive dyed ostrich herl tips tied splayed.
    • Abdomen: White thread underbody. Black mylar pulled over the back and over wrapped with 1mm wide section of olive think skin.
    • Thorax: Olive tying thread with black mylar pulled over back. Tear drop shape formed with UV cured resin.
    • Wing/Wingcase: Wingcase formed with cutting a section of olive thin skin. This sectio is tied forward and then pulled back over the eyes and secured behind the eyes.
    • Legs: Olive/green dyed mallard flank
    • Head: Olive mono eyes
    • Notes: The articulated section is affixed to the lead hook with .009 monofilament. Several coats of UV cured resin are used to create the head/thorax section. The goal is to create a translucent section. The black mylar strand that is pulled along the back is to mimic the digestive tract of the insect.
  14. Wow! That is super realistic. Great tie!
  15. Dang, that creation could crawl off the table, molt, & take flight! Nice, very nice!
  16. John, that's a dandy!
  17. Thanks Gene.
  18. Gene -
    I use green glass beads on my "glass-eyed damsel' nymph.
    glass-eyed damsel 3.jpg

    To secure the glass beads, I take a short piece of 30lb mono and melt one end, then slip on the two glass beads and, and, while holding them by needle nosed pliers to keep the proper distance between the eyes, I melt the other end. Then I tie them on like dumbbell or bead chain eyes. Otherwise, this is a pretty traditional maribou pattern that works pretty well for me.

    I like your take on tying new patterns. At this stage in my life, I get more time at the vice than on the water, so I enjoy that creative element, too.


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