Dragons and Damsels: 10 Great Dry Fly Patterns

dragon fly real fishing trout fly tying

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

spent wing foam blue damsel fly sharpie marker panfish bluegill fly tying pond

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

Foam Dragon fly black sharpie marker smallie smouthmouth bass fly tyer guy

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

realistic wings dragonfly damselfly foam thread plastic eyes mono eyes black blue brook trout rainbow white perchThis 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

deer hair antron fly tying damselfly dragonfly dragon damsel fishing trout bass brook rainbow brown smallmouth panfish bluegill pumpkinseed longear

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

parachute blue damsel material fly tying fishing trout rainbow brook bluegill

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

jewel ebony damselfly fly damsel dragon fly dragonfly tying fishing trout brookie rainbow brown smallmouth bass

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.

damselfly fly tying cdc feathers foam realism realistic wings fishing

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.

yellow dragonfly foam deer hair float bass panfish sunfish

Another fly tied by Dronlee.

mono abdomen damselfly dragon fly blue

A pattern from hatches magazine. The extended body is 40lb mono with thread tied over it.


dragon fly bluegill realistic wings yellow panfish sunfish pumpkinseed longear smallmouth bass trout

A fly from BigBluegill.com


  1. Howard Levett

    Several years ago a buddy of mine and I fished a small lake on the Western Slope of Colorado. Without warning, we were suddenly covered with damselfly nymphs, literally! We had nothing close to matching these big ugly guys. I’ve since developed (with the kind help of master fly tier Charlie Craven a fly very close to the picture from Hatches Magazine. Unfortunately, I’ve never had a chance to fish them in real life. Very informative post guys, thanks.

    1. Ben

      If the trout are honed in on damselfly’s it can be a great day of fishing. That fly is excellent!

  2. TexWisGirl

    really cool. thanks for stopping by my spot and leaving a comment! good fishing and tying to you!

    1. bensmckinley@gmail.com (Post author)

      Thanks, not problem and thanks for having a look around here!

  3. Michael Williams


    Fantastic flies and great site! Love that you fish for multiple species in multiple settings. Honored that you linked my latest post to your site. Thanks so much!

    Tight lines,


    1. bensmckinley@gmail.com (Post author)

      Thanks! Happy to provide the link, the widget is actually pretty cool as it will always show the most recent post from any given site. Thanks for adding my site to yours as well.

  4. Bill Turssell

    I’ve never used a Damsel fly pattern trout fishing, but after reading your post I’m convinced that anyone of these patterns would produce a take on some of the tailraces I fish. That bluegill pattern is a killer, of all the patterns you’ve listed the two that really get my attention are the Blue Damsel and the Bluegill pattern. Thanks for sharing

    1. bensmckinley@gmail.com (Post author)

      Thanks! I’ve found trout can be surprisingly enthusiastic about taking damselflies.

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    Pretty! This has been a really wonderful post. Thanks for providing this info.

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