Damselfly- by Fredrick Hannie

featured, Fly Patterns, Step-by-Step Tutorials — By on May 15, 2012 7:34 pm

It was not until recently that I found how little I knew about damselflys and their life cycle. I assumed like most of you that a damselfly layed her eggs upon or just under the surface of the water like other emergent insect species. It wasn’t until I saw a” You Tube” video that showed a coupled pair crawl down a partially submerged twig to deposit the eggs close to the bottom. After doing so the pair crawled back up the branch and immediatly took flight. The video went on to show countless single and coupled pairs of damsels enter and leave the water. And although I have seen many patterns for a damselfly nymph and adults , I had never seen a pattern for an adult damselfly that was’nt a dry fly. With this in mind I set about designing this pattern. Since this was going to be a wet fly, I could use a larger and heavier hook than I would if tying a dry fly. But since most species of damselflys are less than an inch and a half in length we don’t want to go too big either. For this pattern I chose a # 12 scud hook. For the fly itself I wanted to use materials that would not keep the fly on the surface. That ruled out deer hair and foam. I found that I could get the look I was after by using monofilament and thread. And not only would the fly look like a damselfly it would be durable. Organza ribbon for the wings was an easy choice. It is less wind resistant than a solid wing material and has an irredescant shimmer to it. You can use markers to color the thread to match your local damselflys. I have chosen to tie a male Familiar Bluet(Enallagma civile), a species found in almost every continental state.
Check out Fred’s website, www.realisticflytying.net, where he shares a wealth of information on realistic fly tying.

Material List
Hook : TMC 2488 size 12
Thread : Danville’s 6/0 (white)
Legs : 6 lb monofilament
Eyes : 40 lb mono
Abdomen ,Thorax : 40 lb mono
Wing : organza ribbon
Markers : Copic colors 110 (special black), B32 (pale blue)015

The abdomen will be tied as an extended body. Place a segment of 40lb mono in the vise and cut it to measure one inch. Start your thread next to the vise as you would on a hook.

The average damselfly abdomen has ten segments . The last three segments can be viewed as one. Before wrapping the thread to form the segments mark the mono where your segments will start or stop.

Notice a small space between the segments and how the thread is built up to asinuate each segment.The last segment is made to appear thicker . Once all the segments are formed by the thread wrap the thread back to the vise and whip finish.

Using a Copic B32( pale blue), color the abdomen and coat with head cement to seal in the color.

After the head cement dries we can add a second color. in this case we will use a Copic marker 110 (special black) to add markings to the abdomen. Then coat the abdomen with head cement to seal this color. Now after the abdomen has dried you can remove it from the vise ,as we prepare the rest of the fly.

For the eyes we will melt a 1/2 inch section of 40 lb mono. With a pair of small tipped tweezers grasp the mono in the middle and heat the ends to form two round eyes connected by the unmelted mono between the tweezer’s tips.

Place a #12 scud hook in the vise and tie on with your thread. The mono dumbell eyes are tied in just behind the hook eye on top of the hook as shown. Once the eyes are tied in place continue to build up the thread between the eyes. This will form our damselfly’s head.



The abdomen is now tied onto the hook . You will have to cut the mono tag so that the start of the abdomen is only 3/16 or 5mm from the back of the eyes.

The thorax of the damselfly is lowest behind the eyes and highest where the wings attach. To accomplish this with mono we will flatten the end of a piece of 40 lb mono . Tie in the flattened section behind the eyes wrapping back over the unflattened section.

Snip off the mono at the end of the thorax . Then prepare the wings by pulling several strands of orgaza ribbon. The wing material is to be tied in on top of the thorax and should extend 3/4 of the length of the abdomen.

Now using the same markers as before color the thorax and eyes. And once again use head cement to seal in the colors.

The fly could now be finished and fished as is. Or a soft hackle could be tied in just behind the eyes. I prefer to tie on 6 lb mono filament legs for the look and durability. Tie in the legs under the thorax starting just behind the eyes and tie the next two pairs as close as possible to the first pair leaving a small seperation between them. Whip finish and touch up the color.

With a heated bodkin, bend the mono legs into natural pose.


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10 Comments

  1. Tim says:

    Nice fly Fred as usual. I will have to give it a try.

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    Rating: +2 (from 2 votes)
  2. Michael in Seattle says:

    That’s a truly awesome fly. I’m definitely going to try this one.

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    Rating: +2 (from 2 votes)
  3. Kim says:

    Thank you so much for the great tutorial! I have lots of luck with dragonfly patterns on bass in my area of Texas, so want to try this damselfly as well.

    As a newbie in tying flies, I have to ask: How did he create such perfect mono eyes? I always end up with burnt, flat, crevice-ladened eyes that would probably scare off more fish than lure ;-). What is the best tool to use? I’m using a cheapo soldering iron without a lot of luck. Thank you!

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  4. Daflytyer says:

    Will tie some for Bass,we seem to have alot of blue damsels in our area(WI). Thanks

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    Rating: +2 (from 2 votes)
  5. MAUMUS CLAVERIE says:

    KIM, the easiest way to form the eyes is to use a cigarette lighter. Adjust the flame to as small as you can. Hold it 2″ below the mono, and be quick to move it when the eye is formed. Too close or too long makes the eye black. You know it is correct when it has the color shown in the article.

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    Rating: +6 (from 6 votes)
  6. Kim says:

    Thank you Maumus! I’ll give that a try.

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  7. NYCflyangler says:

    Wouldn’t it be easier and faster to pre-paint the abdomen monofilament with a brush or a paint marker than to color and wind thread around it and color it with a marker? Assuming you’re tying more than one fly at a time.

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  8. Fred says:

    Wouldn’t it be easier and faster to pre-paint the abdomen monofilament with a brush or a paint marker than to color and wind thread around it and color it with a marker? Assuming you’re tying more than one fly at a time.

    Thread accepts color way better than mono. The abdomen are tied 12 at a time then the base coat is added ( in this case ,Blue) with a maker and then coated with head cement. By the time the last one is completed the first one is dry and a second color (black ) can be added without fear of the colors blending. Once you’ve made a dozen abdomens , make a dozen set of eyes and you’re ready to roll.

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  9. buzzer bob says:

    Thanks for the idea, im gonna tie it with a CDC wing 😉

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  10. Rich Binell says:

    OMG. I’d eat that. Lovely work.

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