Damsel Fly Patterns (proven and experimental…copy them)






Can’t make this stuff up! Some things are better left unknown don’t you think? So, while this ugly predator (well, Lasiognathusamphirhamphus) fishes blind with the same old ‘fly, let me suggest you get ready for the damsel flies on your  favorite stillwaters. I have had great success with a couple of patterns that are simple to tie. The Georgi’s Damsel and Cope’s Damsel. (click on upper L pic and enlarge for nice details).

Georgi’s Damsel is a ginger colored damsel pattern. I ran into Georgi on Leighton Lake in BC. She and her husband, Neal, own the Logan Lake Flyshop in Logan Lake, BC just south of Leighton and Tunkwa lakes. She shared her pattern with me and represented this as an immature ‘instar’ of the damsel nymph explained to me the various stages of a damsel nymph’s development. Apparently go through a molting process and in the immature process they are sometimes a lighter color. The damsel nymph have gill like,  respirtory devices at the end of the abdomen. We would call this the tail for flytying purposes. Usually feather/hackle fibers or marabou are used for this portion the fly to suggest movement. Perhaps ostrich feathers of a smaller size would be good here for the breathing gills/’tail’. This has been a good little fly for me and I have left it as Georgi initially presented it.

The Cope’s Damsel is sleeker and more static in materials used, but this has been very productive from BC to Oregon. Fished toward the shoreline’s reeds or retrieved toward the shore (remember the damsels are slowly swimming beneath the surface toward objects to climb above the surface). This pattern was originated by Jim Cope. Remember Cope’s Callibaetis? I tie this in medium brown and green. Both are equally productive. The only thing I (well not the only thing, but I should say one thing) wonder is if the color for the immature nymph is of less value to you as the fish key on mature ’emerging’ nymph, which are probably darker (like Cope’s pattern).

I believe tying the Georgi’s in a variety of vegetation colors and the Cope’s to match that same camo theme will cover it all. Match the veg!  I have included other experimental patterns for damsels that work. The Georgi Damsel and the Cope’s Damsel as well as these other patterns work. I have tied patterns that combine both qualities of Georgi’s Damsel and the Cope’s. Some I have tied a bit too thick and may be better suited for small dragons. You’ve got the patterns, but pay attention to the presentation as well. Where do they live as a nymph at? What do they feed upon? How do they swim? How do they ‘hatch’?  Below are ‘spooning’ damsels. A Georgi Damsel and a Cope Damsel, but with a marabou tail. 

OK, I was so impatient to post today. I took these shots outside in morning light hence the shadows. I was too impatient to wait for the high noon as it is frigging hot outside and well as I said impatient.    

http://www.ariverneversleeps.com/showsell/ads/client15.html  (access to contact information for Georgi and Neal’s shop in Logan Lake, B.C……still don’t have a weblog/website!?!)  (July 2, 2008: per Georgi’s comments~See Comments Section for excellent advice~ their shop is no more…but, I am sure their positive spirit carries on. Her excellent fly carries on.  Thank you, Georgi and best wishes to you and Neil.    

https://swittersb.wordpress.com/2008/08/19/brian-okeefes-wisdom-positive-and-vital/ (worth reading for a view of the sport’s many faces)

5 Responses to “Damsel Fly Patterns (proven and experimental…copy them)”

  1. 1 georgi
    July 2, 2008 at 12:38

    Hi there. Apparently we met on Leighton Lake – forgive me for not remembering as i have met so many people.

    Just to let you know, this is not a larva. Damsels do not have a larva stage, they go from egg to nymph.

    I fish the Georgi Damsel on a sinking line at the drop offs most times, emulating an immature, freshly molted nymph. After a molt, they are tender and tasty and they will go through several molts in the year or two that they spend as a nymph. The blondish color represents that fresh molt.

    I will vary the retrieve from day to day. Most times you should be fishing it very slowly just off the bottom, in up to about 12 feet of water.

    Sometimes, when it doesn’t seem to be working very well, and i’m stripping my line in quickly to change flies, i will suddenly get a hit. Back it goes in the water but this time i’m fishing it with quick strips.

    Othertimes i will have the damsel floating in the water just below my boat while i rifle through my box looking for another fly and bam! a hit. So again, i will leave it on but fish it either with a strike indicator on a floating line, closer to the surface with the only movement being that of the surface waves OR leave it on the sinking line, find bottom and let it sit there, once again just letting the surface action determine the motion.

    There is a good article on my fly in Art Lingren’s book “Contemporary Fly Patterns of British Columbia”.

    We no longer have the fly shop, my husband and i got out of the biz about 3 years ago – 10 years was enough. Fun while it lasted but not enough time to fish. 😦

    Neil is now managing Lac Le Jeune Provincial Park, about 20 minutes from Logan Lake, and i am the gatekeeper. Fishing at Lac Le Jeune has been awesome this spring. But then, this is the Highland Valley and it’s always awesome fishing in these lakes. Drop by and say hi if you’re ever in the area!

    Tight lines!


  2. 2 swittersb
    July 2, 2008 at 13:12

    Hello Georgi,
    Thank your for responding AND providing so much useful information. This morning I was cruising about Troutnut.com and, as you say, the point was made re Damsel ‘nymphs’ not larva…not sure where I got that from, but it stands corrected…Running a business is indeed demanding, particularly a seasonal one. I always enjoyed your shop and the tea as well. I wish you and Neil the best and again thank you for the great update…enjoy the Summer and Fall.



  3. 3 swittersb
    June 29, 2008 at 09:25

    I stay pretty consistent on hook sizes (10/12) but I have read that immature larva are smaller. Swimming Damsel larva that I have actually seen swimming about the weeds are smaller than what I tie. That said, I stick to the same patterns season to season. I believe early and late in the season the sizes could be varied. But, during the actual emergence they are mature so I would go bigger. Mayflies, at least Callibaetis do vary or get smaller as season progresses as you say. Not sure about Hex or Siph progressions.


  4. 4 Michael
    June 29, 2008 at 09:17

    What size patterns do you usually use… and does the hook size vary uopn the season like mayflies?


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