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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
What's ur favorite damsel fly nymph to imitate blue ones before they get too adults
How do u like to fish them ?
What lines do u use on small pond mostly shallow depth some spots slightly deeper say 10-15 ft at most
Color of water is slightly off kind of tea colored
Fish are mostly brown trout if that matters
Use to do real well on woolybugers fish seem to be keyed in on damsels
There not much of any aquatic bug life in there fish rise in swirl pretty certain there after damsel nymph
Snails are in there too if u got any suggestion on those also
Thanks for the help
 

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You can try a small wolly bugger. Olive is the most common color but different shades of olive brown or tan can work. Not blue.

Denny rickards Stillwater nymph and a maribou damsel are good for damsel flies.

In some lakes the fish can be picky with damsel nymphs. They might like a super slow retrieve with long pauses or another retrieve. Have to experiment.

Hope this helps.
Mike
 

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Over the decades I've tried many different styles of damselfly nymphs. At one time or another, they've all worked.

This one is called Blondie but you can tie it in olive, brown or light tan (as shown):
Sky Insect Bait Fishing lure Water


This one is simply a light olive colored WB with a bead head:
Artificial fly Terrestrial plant Plant Electric blue Fashion accessory


But out of all of them, this basic pattern I call a Turbo Leech works more consistently than anything else:
Artificial fly Blue Sky Azure Organism

I tie it in olive or brown.
 

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Arthropod Insect Pest Wood Parasite
Plant Twig Insect Arthropod Pest
I pulled-out a couple old Montana boxes. A lot of these date back to the late 50's & 60's and all worked.
Floss-bodied, clipped hackle nymphs at the top were a standard go-to; on some days, red & black outfished every other color.
The bunny-hair gray ones worked on days when fish were very particular.
Then I began adding eyes during a trip back in the 80's when fish started the feeding earlier & deeper.

Today I also use a skinny version of Gene's turbo Leech, an extended-tail Damsel nymph, & small immature bead-head nymphs later in the year. I'll tie some zonker-tailed versions today.

The dries were by far & away my most productive "Drowned Dragonfly" that fish keyed on in the evenings before the giant Caddis hatch started; these sat low in the film just like spent adults.
 

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Damselfly nymphs swim ashore in order to emerge from their nymphal shucks. At times this migration can take on enormous proportions with hundreds, perhaps thousands, of nymphs moving toward shore over a compressed period of time. More commonly there will be a few (to quite a few) emerging at almost any time of the day. Frequently the process of emerging involves climbing up the stem of a cattail or a sedge (or even the side of your float tube). Once securely ensconced above the waterline, the nymph will begin to emerge from its nymphal shuck. Having done so, while technically an adult, the damselfly is now referred to as a teneral. Depending on conditions the teneral may still take anywhere from an hour to an entire day to become fully mature. Tenerals are normally less colorful than fully-formed adults; typically gray, tan or a pale green, have a shorter, thicker abdomen and translucent (as opposed to transparent) wings. They are also less-accomplished fliers than the fully-mature adults and are often blown from their perches to be knocked down on the water.

There are over two dozen species of damselflies in the Pacific Northwest and, while the adult males of most species are blue with black markings, some species are olive-green or tan. Females are usually less brightly colored than the males though in some species they may exhibit a range from almost as bright as the males to a dull tan or gray.

Insect Arthropod Azure Pest Electric blue
Sky Insect Arthropod Pollinator Plant
Insect Arthropod Coenagrion Dragonflies and damseflies Organism
 

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As far as I can tell, the bugs will climb up on anything they can. I know during a damselfly hatch the nymphs will be all over my pontoon boat while floating around.. At East Lake, there are many dead trees in the reservoir (we call them stick ups) that are a result of building the dam. During hatches, hundreds of the nymphs can be found on the stick ups.
 

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I've always been puzzled by the colors in which most damselfly nymph imitations are tied. All of the damsel nymphs I've ever seen have ranged from a fairly dark olive to brown (most commonly) to a yellowy-brown straw color; understandable as a close match to the predominant colors of the environments in which they live. Fluorescent green/chartreuse seems to be highly favored for imitations although I've never seen a damselfly nymph even approaching that color.

Green Insect Arthropod Organism Aqua
Arthropod Insect Textile Pollinator Electric blue
 

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I call this my "glass-eyed damsel" It has olive green glass beads on a short piece of nylon filament for eyes,
Similar to some that I tie, Richard. I gave-up on trying to make uniform mono eyes years ago; much easier & much better results using seed beads. Must be that great (and in my case, old) minds thing . . .

I tied some of those, Preston, sans the rubber legs (I used hackle wraps) & Pheasant tail that I painted with SHHAN instead of scud back (didn't have any narrow enough & detest trying to cut that stuff down.).

Both are nice patterns, Guys!
 

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Preston, I'm aware that some damselfly nymphs are brown and a blond or straw color but I've only seen olive colored ones in the lakes I fish in Oregon.

I've watched them swim to the surface in a number of gin clear lakes and the manner in which they swim is difficult to imitate. There's a reason some folks call them "wiggle bugs" because the wiggle motion is extreme... so extreme we'd need to use articulated patterns with the shanks connected by servos to mimic the action :)

They kind'a fascinate me. I watched them for sometime waiting for a trout to grab one but that I've never seen. They also stop during the swim. Wiggle, wiggle, wiggle stop. Wiggle, wiggle, wiggle stop. As the ones I've watched are headed straight up to the surface I'm not sure how we could mimic the movements. I've also watched midge nymphs headed toward the surface and they tend to also stop on the way up.

You'd need a very larger sliding bobber so the presentation was at a right angle to the surface. I've thought about trying a presentation along those lines but never have. I don't think you'd be able to strip the leader through the bobber so the fly stayed at a right angle on the way up.

However, I do use a strip, strip, strip stop retrieve with a sinking line and sometimes, that is the ticket.
 

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Discussion Starter · #14 ·
Thanks for all the ideas
It's a farm pond in Wyoming about 6000 ft elevation
It was never planted fish got up to 28 inches
Funny private property never gets fished but for some odd reason they become supper picky last few years
Before that it was semi automatic all forms of woolybugers usually
Bead heads toss it out sit for few seconds strip strip pause as u begin next strip big grab
Catch dozen in couple hours anytime of day
Befuddled now how picky they are been shutout or mabe one in few hours many times last few years
Plenty of adult blue damsel around don't seem to see nymphs much there tan looking few I see not very long
Pond is small so see fish swirl must be damsel I see small bait fish and snails beside that no caddis mayflies or other normal aquatic life
It's feed bye irrigation water from glacier lake and streams lots of cows near bye so gets there waste in water no doubt
Just personal catch and release for my family so sees zero pressure most of year I fish it in June usually or when I make it up there
So should be happy jacks but is attacking like its some high pressured Stillwater late in year
I'm up here now will dig thru flies and try ones look similar to suggestions no vice or materials with me
Have only floating lines with me
Would appreciate any help on retrieve if there's more to add there
 

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When nymphs are moving, cast, drop, strip, pause, strip, repeat. When migrating toward shore, nymphs swim then rest periodically. Watch a few of them. One of my Nephews swears by using an indicator (I usually swear AT using an indicator the few times I've tried it.). Sight fishing can be a ball when fish are in close grabbing nymphs with reckless abandon.
 

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Ralph Cutter comments 0n the movement of swimming damselfly nymphs and concludes that there's no point in trying to imitate it because it can't be done. The damsel nymph has three large leaf-shaped gills at the rear end of its abdomen which can be spread vertically and function as a sculling oar (or a fish's caudal fin) while swimming. The damsel nymph swims with an extremely rapid side-to-side movement, rather resembling the exaggerated motion of a swimming fish; lots of motion but very little effective forward movement. As noted above, however, they can only maintain this frantic motion for a short period before having to stop to rest and a fish is just as likely (perhaps more so) to eat the nymph while it is resting as while it is swimming.

I fish my nymph imitation with a floating line, along the shoreline, probably never more than a foot or so deep and with very little movement, only an occasional short strip. Damsel nymphs can often be observed crawling up the stems of aquatic vegetation to emerge and fish can frequently be seen working around the bottoms of them. Some report that fish will actually bump the stems underwater to try to dislodge them, but I wonder if this is not a mistaken interpretation of the general activity of fish eating nymphs swimming toward the stems or actually climbing them. Ducks will swim among the reeds and stretch their necks up as high as they can to pluck off climbing nymphs and clinging tenerals.
Household hardware Wood Tool Gas Cosmetics

Jim,
To make my melted mono eyes, I use a pair of jeweler's tweezers (the kind that close when you release the pressure) and an alcohol lamp. A couple of years ago I bought 100 yards of 80-pound test monofilament at Fisheries Supply, which seems to be a good size to work with. I cut a piece of line about 1 to 1 1/4 inches long, hold it in the tweezers at the middle and move it up close to the side of the alcohol lamp flame to melt one side, turning it over I then melt the other side. The eyes usually burn a little as they melt resulting in a nice amber color.
 

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Thanks, Preston! that may have been part of my problem - not using sufficiently heavy mono. A pair of those tweezers would come in handy for a lot of things!
 

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When fishing stillwater, it is important to bring both damsel nymphs and adults. I watched in vain yesterday as toad rainbows gorged on damsels falling into the water. They ignored the nymphs (my hat was covered in shucks from where they crawled up and molted) and went for the flappy adults, of which I had no imitations. I won't go back without a few in my box!
This one rode home with me:
Arthropod Insect Finger Twig Mantidae
 
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