DRAGONFLY NYMPHS

The following is reprinted from Philip Rowley,s website: Fly Craft Angling with his permission.

In the stillwater jungle the dragon fly nymph seldom plays second fiddle to anything. These fierce underwater predators are a confirmed stillwater staple. Depending upon the species the dragonflies can remain as nymphs for up to 4 years. Their overt habits often get them into trouble and into the jaws of foraging trout. The weed dwelling Darners can reach over two inches at maturity while the squat spider like crawlers attain sizes of about one and one half inches. Anglers will find the largest nymphs in the spring, as these mature nymphs will emerge in the coming months. These rotund nymphs are a great early season choice as their large size is difficult to hide. During the fall months dragon nymph patterns are an excellent choice as trout feed ravenously in anticipation of the oncoming winter. The 6 and larger patterns of the spring are replaced with smaller size 8's and 10's. As dragons grow they proceed through a series of molts called instars. A freshly mottled nymph is a distinct bright green. These neon nymphs are shy and reclusive and trout love them. It pays to keep a number of bright green dragon nymph patterns stashed in the fly box.

The larger climbing nymphs of the family Aeshnidae favor the rich algae type lakes where as the sprawling Libellulidae nymphs occur in large populations in the clear marl lakes. Creeping a buoyant sprawler pattern over the dense beds of chara is a great searching method.

Both families are capable of absorbing water through their abdomens creating a natural jet propulsion system as they expel it through their rectal orifices, system. The aggressive Darner nymphs put this skill to good use while the sedentary sprawlers prefer to crawl from one ambush position to the next. Retrieves for the darner imitations should always utilize a few quick strips. Especially if covering barren patches between weed beds. Sensing their vulnerability the dragon nymph tries to avoid cruising trout by darting its way to safety. Dragon nymphs are great patterns for fishing to sighted fish. Cast the pattern well ahead of the trout's path and allow the pattern to sink to the bottom. As the fish nears pop the rod tip or give one quick strip to draw the trout's attention. Exercise patience and wait for the trout to make its move. Often the trout appears to pass by the fly only to turn on it like a dog stealing a table scrap. For the reclusive sprawler a slow methodical handtwist retrieve on a full sinking line works best. Plumbing sprawler patterns up the lip of a drop off is a great method to explore a new lake. Takes are soft as though the trout is feeling the pattern quite contrary to the vicious takes of darner patterns.