favorite dragonfly nymph pattern


Active Member
Olive willy looks like a simple fish catcher to me. Is that pheasant rump for the soft hackle? and peacock hurl for the body? might tie some up tomorrow!

zen leecher aka bill w

born to work, forced to fish
Olive willy looks like a simple fish catcher to me. Is that pheasant rump for the soft hackle? and peacock hurl for the body? might tie some up tomorrow!
The Olive Willy is also a William Servey pattern. It's a lot easier to tie than the drunken dragon. I will add the drunken dragon fished well on the basin lakes this last Spring. I caught some nice fish on it while using an intermediate sink line that slithered it along the weed tops.


Active Member
I like the wiggle bug type patterns (which are fished behind a sinking line) and some variations I tied with a pheasant tail rump soft hackle tied on before pulling the foam over. Admittedly, the big soft hackle, however, damps out the wiggle, but adds motion of its own.

I have variations in the way I tie on the foam as the original method with a stub on the rear end is unaesthetic to me.

I tie them on tubes so I can vary the hook I use according to where and how I am fishing.

Main downside of this pattern is the plug-like foam bill catches more weeds.

Armando, you threw me a curve ball. I looked at the first picture and thought that fly looks like the real thing. Then it dawned on me, IT IS THE REAL THING. But I like your pattern I have been searching for a good dragon fly pattern and also for a good damsel nymph pattern. I think I have found one and now for the damsel.

Thank you for your post.
Olive willy looks like a simple fish catcher to me. Is that pheasant rump for the soft hackle? and peacock hurl for the body? might tie some up tomorrow!
The Olive Willy looks like a simple suggestive pattern.

How about changing to a 3mm ruby red plastic bead, adding a Rainy's small round foam under body, UV Ice dub spun with New Age #2 chenille and a dub collar. For a buoyant slow dredging bottom pattern off a full fast sink line.

http://www.flyfishingentomology.com/Olive Willy.htm



Posting by GAT suggests that the olive and black variegated wooley bugger may work as a dragonfly nymph.

This image is from one of his posts:

I've tried it and it worked great for me.


View attachment 27211

That is one of the hot flies at Olalla Lake in Oregon on Saturday. I doubt if the planters thought it was a dragonfly nymph.

However, one of the first first lakes we tried the pattern had a huge population of dragonfly nymphs and adults. We fished the WB next to the vegetation and caught a ton-o-trout. In that case, I believe the fish did see the pattern as a dragonfly nymph.

Considering it works for Jay, the theory is good enough for me.


Active Member
William's (William Survey that is) OLIVE WILLY is a very good, effective, and rather simple to tie fly. It went through several mutations from William before he settled on using the silver-lined red glass bead at the head. The bodies are always olive chenile, the tail and hackle are always lemon-yellow dyed Chinese Pheasant Rump feathers (they become an olive with nice highlights after being dyed lemon-yellow), and the hackle is always tied in and wrapped about 2/3rds of the way up the body, which is where the front body segment is started. William never ribbed the bodies.

The permutations on the way to using the silver-lined glass bead head were: 1) short clump of red calftail for the stub wing (which is actually the wing case); 2) short clump of red marabou for the stub wing (it provides more movement and illusion of life than the calftail, which is why William changed to it); 3) short clump of red rabbit fur for the stub wing (far more durable than marabou, provides a bit more color because it doesn't slim down very much, and still provides a good amount of movement for the illusion of life); and finally, 4) the silver-lined red bead head.

William named this fly in honor of his son "Willy" who was killed in an accident.

The DRUNKEN DRAGON came years after the OLIVE WILLY and before the red bead head version of the OLIVE WILLY. It was inspired by those of us who knew William telling him he ought to tie a dragon fly nymph imitation with red eyes since it was obvious to us that the OLIVE WILLY was taken as a dragon fly nymph. His first ones used red plastic bead chain (he used red dye to dye white plastic bead chain scarlet). But when he first saw the silver-lined red beads in a craft store, he bought a rather large amount of them and mounted them on yellow RIO Slickshooter running line (an oval mono) by melting the ends after he put the bead on the Slickshooter. He sometimes mounted the beads with super glue, but you have to be careful not to glue your fingers.

One last thing. William came up with the name DRUNKEN DRAGON because he said the red eyes reminded him of someone with a pretty bad hangover's blood-shot eyes.