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DragonflyWe are creating profiles for the natural flies that are relevant to fly fishing and the fly fisherman, if there are any flies that you wish to have listed here please send details to


Dragonflies - Odonata - Anisoptera

Dragonflies are insects of the sub-order Anisoptera which means unequal winged. The Dragonfly’s hind wings are usually shorter and broader than forewings.

They are a large, strong flying insect that are found near to lakes, ponds and rivers. When at rest, they hold their wings out from the body, often at right angles to it. The most important stage of the Dragonfly for the fly fisherman is the larval stage.


Dragonfly - Larval Stage

Dragonfly Nymph - Larval Stage

The larva of the Dragonfly is the most important stage of its life cycle for the purposes of fly fishing. Being similar to the damselfly in many respects, quite often the fly pattern used will represent both of these insects and their larva.

The Dragonfly Nymph grows slightly larger than the damselfly and is very aggressive, eating many other insects, tadpoles and small fry during its underwater life which can last anywhere between 1 and 5 years dependant upon species and environment.

They are found in many guises with colours ranging from the drab green and browns, right through to reds, oranges and blues.



Dragonfly Nymph - Larval Stage Imitation

There are many imitations of the Dragonfly available, and there are many lures that look like representations of the Dragonfly Nymph.

But i think that a trout feeding on Dragonfly larva will always take a damselfly nymph imitation, due to the many similarities of both of these nymphs.


Dragonfly - Adult Stage

Dragonfly - Adult Stage

The adult Dragonfly is truly a spectacular thing to see, it flies with great strength and speed and the larger specimens are a sight to behold.

But from the fly fishing point of view, the adults are very rarely (if at all) taken by hungry trout, making any good imitations, although impressive (as with the damselfly) it is virtually redundant in the fly fishers box.

The best time for a feeding trout to take a Dragonfly would be when the female is laying her eggs with her abdomen dipping into the water surface or when the dragonfly is "spent" and becomes an easy victim.

Often confused with the damselfly, a significant difference being the larger size and the wings that are open at right angles when at rest (see picture), compared to the damselfly which folds its wings back behind its body.


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