Fly anglers are well aware of the importance of dragonfly and damselfly nymphs, but often neglect the airborne adults version of these insects. The adult forms of damsel and dragonflies are strong fliers, and are rarely available to trout or bass since they don’t fall in the water all that often. That being said, they do fall in the water on occasion. A trout that has been sipping on mayflies all spring, must think a struggling dragonfly looks like a juicy T-bone steak!
I know dragon and damselflies are not the first thing that comes to mind when you think of dry fly fishing, but I’ve found some very interesting damsel and dragonfly patterns to try out. They are all quite fun to tie,and tying a big ol’ dragonfly can give a fly tier a nice break from tying much smaller and (occasionally tedious) mayfly, caddis, and midge patterns. It’s quite easy to change the proportions and colour of the fly patterns listed to more closely match the naturals in your area. I myself have used several of the patterns below with significant success.
Blue Spent Wing Foam Damselfly
This damsel fly pattern is tied by Dronlee over at flytyingnation.com. I’ve featured his work before with good reason, he’s quite talented with foam patterns. The colour combinations on this fly pattern mimic a real damselfly very well. It’s not very often you get a realistic looking fly tied with foam, but this pattern does a pretty good job of imitating the real thing.
Monofilament Wing Foam Dragonfly
This is a pattern tied by user: “Fly Tyer Guy” over at flytyingforum.com. It’s unique since it’s wings are made from folded monofilament. If you follow the link to the forum, you’ll see that the other users are doubtful trout will think much of the wings, but others are quite confident smallmouth bass would love it!
Rubber Leg Blue Foam Damselfly
This is a pattern created and tied by myself, with inspiration from many other fly tyers. The foam extended body is tied on a tube fly vice adaptor before being attached to the hook shank, and the segmentation are just black thread wraps with a whip finish for each segment. The rubber legs and hackle give this fly a good presence on the water surface, and I have taken many good sized brook trout with this pattern. The eyes have a bit of peacock hurl around them to add just a touch of bulk to the head. The only issue with this pattern is that the realistic wings are quite stiff, and create alot of line twist when casting. Future ties of this pattern will be using a different material for wings.
Deer Hair Damselfly
This pattern uses much more natural materials than the other fly patterns on this list. The tail is made from deer body hair, and the wings from hackle feathers. The deer hair damsel is a pattern by Matt Gruber, and there is a a very good tightline video has an excellent fly tying tutorial on tying this pattern.
Foam Parachute Damsel Adult
This is a very simple to tie, yet effective damselfly pattern that will sit a bit lower in the surface film to target more wary fish. The tail is braided damsel body material, but you could take a sharpie marker to any similar blue material and get the same result. The foam parachute damsel pattern is from charliesflybox.com.
Ebony Jewel Wing
This is one of my favourite damselfly patterns and is tied by the Jim Misiura. The combination of Krystal Flash an peacock hurl give the pattern a realistic shimmer. The colour is a very good imitation of a very common species of dragon fly local to my area, so I tie this pattern with the abdomen and thorax bulked up a bit more to imitate a dragonfly rather than a damsel fly. It’s a great pattern for brookies over about 14″, as they absolutely slam it.
Blue Fly Line Damsel.
This is a great little damselfly pattern with alot of really cool components, and was tied by Johan over at johanput.nl. The abdomen is actually old fly line coloured to imitate a natural damselfly. To keep water from seeping into the fly line and sinking the fly, you take a lighter to the end of the fly line. This not only seals the line, but creates a little bump at the end of the tail just like a natural damsel fly would have. The fly line abdomen and foam thorax make this a very boyant fly. The eyes and wings add realism to the pattern,and make the fly beautiful to anglers, and the generous addition of CDC fibers make the patterns just as appealing to fish.
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Other Flies worth mentioning.