Fly Tying Corner
Lion's Mane Damsel
I like the damsel hatch. It occurs mid-day on most of our local lakes in later June and is characterized by a very splashy rise form as trout take damsels swimming just below the surface film. Damsels look to find sticks, tules, anchor ropes, or any other object that enables them to crawl out of the water to hatch. They often swim just below the surface for some distance looking for these items latch onto. It is during this surface swimming action that the damsel is the most vulnerable to trout. The damsel nymph coloration matches the color of the environment that these insects live, which ranges from tan to a deep olive.
This monthís pattern is the Lionís Mane Damsel, which is a pattern that I have used with good success casting towards rise forms and/or surface structure. It is stripped back in short strips on a dry line fishing the fly very shallow under the surface film. The name Lionís Mane Damsel is attributable to the wound marabou around the eyes that give the fly its characteristic lionís mane look. Offer long pauses during the retrieve. Trout will often take during these pauses. The design of the Lionís Mane Damsel is simple; it features a long wispy tail to mimic the undulating motion of the natural. As you can see in the picture above, the tail contains a small drop of UV resin, which offers a hinge point on the tail and can help further the swimming motion of the natural. Give the following pattern recipe a try during your early summer damsel hatches on a favorite local lake.
Lionís Mane Damsel Pattern Recipe:
- Hook: TMC 5212 size 10-12 or similar
- Thread: Olive Brown to match Marabou
- Abdomen: Tan to Olive Marabou with very long fibers
- Rib: Red or Copper Wire
- Thorax: Olive Brown to match Marabou
- Eyes: Black Plastic Bead Chain Eyes
Experiment with this pattern during the Damsel Hatch. If you have questions or would like additional information about this Damsel pattern, please donít hesitate to email me. Or if you have suggestions on future patterns to feature in this column, I welcome your input. I can be reached at Philfischer@sbcglobal.net.