Autumn On The EB

Autumn On The EB

Tuesday, February 9, 2016

Damselflies And Their Imitations

"Many go fishing all of their lives without knowing that it is not fish that they are after" Henry David Thoreau

Photo by Thomas Ames, Jr.

If you've fished the EB or the Millers or any freestone river in late May to early June and have not seen this insect hatching at your feet then you're paying attention. Look for a warm sunny morning in early June and you will see THOUSANDS of these critters climbing onto rocks or the shore to hatch.

The insect that I'm talking about is a large, light green damselfly and this adult form is of no interest to the trout. It's the nymph that gets the attention!

I have seen and caught trout on the EB and the Millers that were chasing these fast swimming nymphs in water only 3 inches deep. I've seen one Millers brown actually beach itself trying to grab a nymph that had just made it to shore.

You may witness the greatest concentration of trout in certain areas for the whole season.

Where and When to fish - You NEED a BRIGHT sunny morning in late May or early June. Damsels like to hatch in the sun. Cast close to shore and use a snappy, short retrieve.

Where to fish - Freestones with sunny exposed areas are the best.

What to Use - Polly Roseborough's Casual Dress nymph is perfect in size, color and profile. So are some of Jack Gartside's creations. Size 8 and 10 with a little weight will do the trick. No beads please!

This June I'll get some photos of this insect busting out of it's nymph skin. A two inch insect emerging from a one inch casing. Amazing!!!



Anonymous said...

I saw dozens of these hatching within 20 feet of shoreline last spring. They were all over the air too.


Bob O said...

These damsels look alot like a fly I purchased a few years ago at a local Rt 20 sport shop in Westfield. It was called the 'Westfield' and had pheasant tail fibers for the tail, a peacock thorax, and more PT fibers for legs. I found some quite success drifting it across the current at the Whippernon flats.

Millers River Flyfisher said...

They might pass for a stonefly nymph too.


Parachute Adams said...

I appreciate the insect pictures you put up, Ken. After seeing the photo of the damselfly nymph I tied up a couple of decent looking ones using brown goose biots for the three pronged tail. They came out pretty decent and look "buggy" to me. The trout will be the judge though so we'll see.

Question, does the Swift have stoneflies in it? I tied up a few of those the past few days and they look pretty good. Just wondering if the Swift trout take them.

Thanks and regards, Sam

Millers River Flyfisher said...


The biots would work too!

Stoneflies are rare on the Swift. Maybe down in Bondsville but not in the C&R.


Ben said...

Damsel flies are so beautiful, and so delicious for trout. I of course fish the nymph stages, but have had fun with adult damsel fly imitations for trout as well.

Millers River Flyfisher said...


I caught and threw a damselfly into the EB last June and a trout came up and grabbed it. Too big and juicy to pass up!!