favorite dragonfly nymph pattern

zen leecher aka bill w

born to work, forced to fish
I like fishing dragonfly nymph imitations as trout seem to slam into them for the take. I've tied a coupla patterns over the years; the drunken dragon, two kaufmann patterns; the lake dragon and the floating lake dragon, a pattern of mine called the junkyard dog (because it's an ugly tie and a big one), the carey special and a few others.

Just wondered what your favorite is?

My current one is a hybrid one. It has a short stub of marabou for the tail, a clipped elk hair body and the wound, red eye, drunken dragon head. Haven't fished it yet but it floats good in the kitchen sink, along with an excellent looking dragon nymph profile.

Dr Bob

Active Member
I like the red eyed dragon pattern. I could not find it on line but is a very basic pattern. An olive marabou tail, olive chenille body over some dubbing or lead wraps to fatten it up, red plastic dumbell eyes and a collar behind the eyes of dyed olive or green pheasant rump feather. It has worked good for me when needed.

Dr Bob


Canyon Lurker
this is something i came up with when dabbling in wiggle-nymph's a few weeks ago. it hasn't been tested but i think it should work good. it still has improvments that must be made though, i think the lead eyes are a bit to much weight so i'll be replacing them with mono-eyes. also the mono connecting the back doesn't give it the "wiggle" i was looking for so (not to hijack the thread) if any ones dabbled in wiggle nymph's and has any advice it'd be welcome.

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Jim Wallace

Smells like low tide.
I've been meaning to tie some. I have 2 of the Skip Morris ties in my box, and one other that I tied with red lead dumbell eyes that I now think is too heavy. It jigs too vertically for my liking, and likes to hit bottom.

A friend of mine who passed away last summer had been a very good tier before his vision failed. He gave me one of his dragons, and I'm saving it as a model. He used some brown foam for an underbody, and tied in a small tight loop of it crosswise for eyes. Body and head look like a mix of olive and brown wool, wound over the foam. Legs are some kind of barred brown hackle. It floats.

I'm going to try to whip up something similar, and then fish it off my type 3 (I might have to get a Deep 7 if my patience starts to wane) by letting the line sink to the bottom before I strip it in, so that the floating dragon will look like it is swimming back toward the bottom during each strip.


Active Member
Love this thread and the patterns shared. Armandog what a great pattern.

Here is what I came up with last summer, not proven yet because I have not fished them. I tried knotting the legs to give them the "JOINTED" look but my fingers are just to big for this kind of work and I couldn't get the knots far enough to the middle of the legs like I wanted. I also tied them with medium brown and used a dark brown felt pen to darken the back so it had the two tone dark back light under belly look that i like, but the lighting really doesn't show the difference.

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Thanks for checking my fly recipe!
One thing I always keep an eye on when fishing them is always an intermediate line, to work the weeds properly. Dragon nymphs use to crawl along while searching for food, this nymphs will eat other nymphs and will even take a bite at a small alewive or tadpole. So ill just strip slow, you know how there are holes that are made in between the weeds so If im snagging them and sudenly dont feel them anymore to start snagging them again then Im fishing them the right way. When I feel the snagg Ill pull harder to free the fly from the weed and at the sametime as it breaks thru a lot of dust and stuff thats on top of the weeds will spread in a cloud wich imitates perfectly the jet steam they use to swim faster.
If I see the fly is swiming freely and not yet getting to the weeds then Ill strip in small fast twitches until I hit the plants. They do that when looking for cover.
In still waters everything is about movement, so I use long soft hackles and rubbers to make that movement outstanding!

Hope this helps!
Hell yea that helps. I live next to a state record tiger trout lake and it has the largest dragonfly population of any lakes here. this thread will be bookmarked.


Active Member
Back when I still fished for trout, I liked either William Survey's DRUNKEN DRAGON, or an older Kaufmann dragon nymph that had a short pheasant tail tail, dubbed olive-brown body, pheasant tail legs that were knotted like a DAVE'S HOPPER's legs and tied in more on the side of the fly than the bottom, and the eyes were simply the butt ends of the legs stood out on the sides of the fly by wrapping tying thread around them to stand them out that were clipped short.
Hey Brian, that a nice looking pattern. I can see this in a few colors and sizes becoming a staple in my fly box. what style hook is it tied on? I know I should be able to look at it and determine it, but it escapes me for now.