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Damselfly Nymph Pattern & Tying Instructions

Fly Tying Recipe: Damselfly Nymph
Scud/pupa hook (here a Dai-Riki #135), size 10
Red, 8/0 or 70 denier
Bead chain
Rainbow Krystal Flash, three strands
Fluorescent chartreuse jumbo ostrich plume
Metal file, Post-It pad
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Video Transcript:

This is Rob Snowhite’s Damselfly Nymph. It’s an easy, quick and fairly cheap tie that works well in just about any body of water - making it an exceptional guide fly. Rob keeps a rather impressive list of all the species he has caught using this fly. It’s intended to generally mimic a damselfly nymph which are common to lakes and ponds as well as rivers and small streams. He guides in the Washington DC area for darn near every kind of fish that swims. He also has an active website that includes videos, informative and entertaining podcasts, and some very cool tricks for tying this pattern production style. It’s definitely worth a look.

To tie Rob’s Damselfly Nymph, I’m going to start with a Dai-Riki #135 in a size 10. I really like the holding power of the 135’s offset shank.

For thread, I’ve loaded a bobbin with a spool of red UTC 70 Denier. Get your thread started on the hook shank behind the eye and take a few wraps rearward before snipping or breaking off the tag. Leave it about an eye length space behind the hook eye.

For weight and the eyes of the fly, beaded chain available at home improvement centers works great and is relatively inexpensive as compared to dumbbell eyes. Snip two spheres off at one time with wire cutters. Although not absolutely necessary, I like to trim off the little segment that connected them to the rest of the chain. Giving the hole on each bead a bit of a filing to smooth its ragged edge, will result in less frayed and broken thread. Preparing a whole bunch at once saves time.

Secure the eyes to the top of the hook shank, first with cross wraps and then with whatever method works best for you. Personally, I like to follow the cross wraps with alternating yoke wraps over top of the connective stem and underneath the hook shank - kind of like a mini tug-of-war back and forth. Then I’ll do 3 or 4 turns around just the hook shank followed by a series of wraps underneath the eyes but above the hook to pull everything together. End with your tying thread at the back edge of the eyes.

Rob uses Multi-color Krystal Flash but I didn’t have any on hand so I’m going to go with “rainbow” instead. It’s fairly close, just a little darker. Three strands are all you need, and with them, you can make multiple flies. Measure the flash to form a tail about 1 1/2 hooks in length and take a wrap or two to secure it before bringing the remainder back and securing that with a few wraps. You can then snip the excess off close but tuck it away in a safe place for the next fly.

Ostrich plume is used for the remainder of this pattern. The jumbo stuff, with the long fibers is really what you want as opposed to smaller offerings. Snip 5 well formed strands free from the stem and then get their tips reasonably aligned. Wetting the tips so they stick together makes tie-in much easier. Measure so the ostrich extends as far as the Krystal Flash. Secure it to the top of the hook shank with 1 or 2 thread wraps then pull the remainder back and start taking wraps with your tying thread to bind the whole mess to the top of the shank. Go all the way back to the hook barb. You can then get hold of the butt ends of the ostrich and start making wraps with it behind your tying thread which will help to keep the fibers together and form a nice, full, fluffy body. When you reach the eyes, take 2 or 3 wraps with your tying thread to anchor the ostrich to the hook shank and essentially save your work up to this point.

With that done, bring the ostrich fibers between the bead eyes, under the hook shank, behind the near bead, over top of the hook shank and then back under on the opposite diagonal, ending on top of the hook. Once again, bind the ostrich to the top of the hook shank with 2 or 3 tight turns of tying thread. This time however, you can snip the excess off close. To somewhat hide your thread, sneak it over top of the near eye and then around behind the hook shank before taking a few wraps right behind the hook eye. Finally, do a 4 or 5 turn whip finish and snip or cut your tying thread free.

I haven’t fished this fly just yet but can’t wait. I’ve got a pond in mind where I think it’ll be just the ticket once the weather warms a bit.