Hothead Damselfly Nymph Step-by-Step

Hothead Damselfly Nymph Step-by-Step:

When I last highlighted the ubiquitous damselfly nymph, I emphasized its standing among stillwater classics like the Parachute Adams and Chironomid.  All three are mainstays in the box of high-elevation trout anglers and have proven their worth accounting for countless large trout over the decades.  These petite Odonatoids are far more adaptable, however, and find themselves just as at home in the warm, eutrophic waters of Louisiana as they do in cold, clear montane lakes.

With that in mind, I decided to spend this week’s Step-by-Step highlighting a simple damselfly nymph attractor pattern that has proven effective on our local ponds and reservoirs. 

Tied on a jig hook and featuring a bright orange tungsten bead, this fly gets deep quickly, is highly visible in murky waters and fishes relatively snag-free with its upturned hook.

Umpqua Jig Hook (#8-12) 70 Denier (Olive)Materials Slotted Tungsten (Hot Orange; 3.2mm)
Materials Marabou (Olive)Materials Krystal Flash (Pearl)Materials Marabou(Olive)
Materials Holographic Flat Tinsel (Small; Pearl)Materials Soft Hackle Feather (Olive)

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Hothead Damselfly Nymph Step-by-Step Tying Instructions:

(Mobile Viewers: Click images to enlarge)

Tips and Tricks

  1. Concentrated Efforts – This one is a repeat from my prior damselfly post, but bears repeating…When fishing a damselfly nymph, concentrate your efforts on likely points of emergence. These nymphs are at their most vulnerable when transitioning to shoreline vegetation where they stage prior to their emergence as adults. With this in mind, concentrate your casting around shoreline vegetation. It is certainly possible that you’ll catch fish on this nymph casting in open water, but your odds will improve greatly with a more targeted approach.
  2. A Slimmer Profile – For a slimmer profile, skip Step 7. Instead, pull the marabou butt ends straight forward along the shank & secure at the rear of the bead. Then proceed to Step 9 & secure the marabou further with the tinsel ribbing.
  3. More than a Damsel – While I’ve presented this pattern as a damselfly mimic, it certainly has broader applications.  Another local angler, Brian (Down South Fly Fishing), has had great success this spring fishing a white variation of this pattern.  By no means a damsel, it clearly mimics something the fish like, as Brian has landed species from Channel Catfish to Flier to Shadow Bass on this fly.

Proof of Concept

While I do not appear to have any pictures to share at the moment, I can attest to its effectiveness with both bass and bluegill in my local waters.  In fact, even the local catfish seem to approve as one fellow angler landed a small channel cat on a version of this fly late last fall.

Tight Line!


Hothead Damselfly Nymph Step-by-Step
Species Caught on Hothead Damselfly Nymph to Date:
  1. Largemouth Bass
  2. Bluegill

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