Wing material for adult dragon and damsel fllies?

In the past, I have done well with a foam adult dragon fly pattern. The problem is that the wing material that I use acts like a propeller and tangles the leader after 5-6 casts. It takes a minute or so to untangle the leader before getting back to fishing. The wing material that I use is called "zwing"(Bett's zing/cello z-wing)distributed by Spirit River or Umpqua Feather. Questions are: (1) when using adult dragon or damsel fly patterns, do you have a problem with the fly spinning and tangling the leader, (2) what wing material do you use and how does it perform, (3) how about using a very small swivel for tangling problems? Thanks for the help.

Every year in Sept., I fish a western Washington lake when large rainbows and cutthroat key into adult dragon flies. The trout will usually come a foot or so out of the water as the adult dragon flies mate and hove/dip down to lay their eggs into the lake. Some fish will get both the male and female when they are locked together. What a sight and mouthful it is to see that happen! I'm sure that some of you have witnessed this same spectacle. On this lake, this event happens on sunny days(70 degrees or higher)with little/no wind from the first to end of Sept. If I can quickly cover a raise, the trout will often take my fly. Otherwise, I'll let it sit for a minute or two and twitch it once in awhile with takes being a big swirl. Have others of you had similar experiences on some western Washington lake and in particular those in eastern Washington?
For the wings on my adult damsel patterns I like to use clear antron. Another substitute (actually I think it is the same thing) is a product called Z-Lon. THese materials are light, look just like wings when sitting in the water and I have had a lot of luck with them.

I have never used an adult dragonfly pattern as I have never seen a fish keyed into them, but some of my most memorable fishing has been fishing adult damsels to cruising trout. A damsel pattern is much smaller than the dragonfly pattern you are talking about, but I have never had a problem with the fly spinning on the leader. The antron wings dont create a lot of resistance in the wind.

If you wouldnt mind, send me a PM with the name of the lake, I would love to see trout going after dragonflies! Or if you ever need a fishing partner there let me know:)
I use a simple parachute hackle of oversized grizzly hackle for the "wings" on my adult damsel patterns (see the Borger damsel for an example). It works great as an impressionistic "fluttering" wing, and the trout seem to like it. It makes for a simple tie, I haven't had undue trouble with leader twist, and it gives me something to do with those way too big dry-fly hackles at the back of the cape.


Active Member
I use white neck hackle. One pair tied in a delta formation, you know like a V. The fish don't stop to count wings. At least the Bass don't. it'll spin some, but the small black swivel cuts down on tangles. you think I'm kidding don't you...
R Stephens,
What size tippet are you using? You might want to increase your tippet size to help eliminate some of the twisting. I've found the fish haven't been real leader shy on that lake. I've had good luck there using a foam or deerhair body adult dragon with grizzly hackle wings.
Red or dark brown for the body color.
Another thing to try is tying your dragons in a smaller size, more like a damsel. The smaller sizes doesn't seem to hurt your chances of the fish taking on the return swirl. The smaller fly and / or larger tippet size will also help eliminate most of the twisting.


Active Member
Try a pattern without wings. I've used chernobyl ants to immitate dragonflies on Columbia Basin lakes with success during late summer-early fall.

Latest posts