Wednesday, July 3, 2013

Dragonfly Nymph Variant - A Big-Fish Fly For Summer

Dragonfly Nymph tied by Steven bird
     There is no questioning the effectiveness of the olive & brown Wooly Bugger for dredging lakes; & no question in my mind the reason is: the pattern works well to simulate the larger dragonfly nymphs present in virtually all lakes & slack-water sections of rivers & streams. And as dragonfly nymphs take two to three years to mature, larger size models are always available to fish.

Not being one content to leave well-enough alone, I couldn’t resist modifying the basic olive & brown Bugger seeking a bit more realism through nuance of detail & coloration, attempting to match the dragonfly nymphs present in a local lake. The version presented here is my current favorite & has worked well for me in a variety of waters. This one may be taken as a sculpin as well as a dragonfly nymph, & it has proven a good smallmouth bass fly. Spring & fall, when fishing trout in lakes, I’ll fish this pattern on a full-sinking line cast to the shoreline or weedbeds & retrieved with short strips & pauses. In summer, when the water warms & trout move deeper, I troll* this pattern with a fast-sink line, or mono tipped with a fast-sink head, or a length of lead-core if I need to get really deep.

*Common in the West mostly when anglers get bored & resort to dragging the fly with their kick boats – yet in New England, where I grew up, trolling with flies & fly tackle was, & still is, a favorite method for fishing trout & landlocked salmon. Many of our classic streamer designs began their careers  as trolling flies. I love the way fish slam a trolled or mooched fly, & I often fish a dragonfly nymph imitation that way, without shame or reservation.

Dragonfly Nymph

Hook: #4 - #8 TMC 200R

Thread: Olive, brown or black

Tailing: Should be the same length as the hook shank. Begin tying in the tailing materials with the tying thread even with the hook point. Stacking, in this order: Tie in 2 strands of olive pearl flashabou; a quarter-inch section of olive-dyed mallard flank; select an almost marabou grizzly hen dyed olive & tie in flat (like a flatwing); select a brownish, almost marabou ringneck pheasant rump feather & tie in flat; 2 strands of olive flashabou; & another pinch of olive-dyed mallard flank as a topping.

Rib: Heavy, olive wire reverse-wound over the palmered body.

Body: Dark olive chenille palmered with brown shlappen or saddle hackle.

Hackle: One turn of dyed-olive grizzly hen, then three turns of brown, speckled game hen or Welsummer hen.

Head: Olive/green dubbing. (I save scraps in all shades of green & blend them for use on this pattern.)  

Dragonfly Nymph tied by Steven bird
Flyfish NE Washington with Steven Bird:

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