Fly Of The Week
Clark's Damselfly
Clark's Damselfly
By Lee Clark, St. Helens, Oregon
Photos by Joe Warren

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Clark's Damselfly

The twisted-body technique came accidentally one day from one of my high school students. It was my preparation period and I was in the process of clearing off my desk. All that remained were a couple colored pencils, an old dictionary, and some short pieces of poly yarn. Brad Weigandt strolled into my classroom as he often did just to talk. He had a habit of picking up something off my desk and playing with it. This time it just happened to be a strand of yarn, but I wasn't aware of what he was doing with it until the bell rang to end the period. He quickly dropped the yarn on my desk and said, "See you later," and out the door he sped. I looked at my desk to notice that the strand of yarn Brad was playing with was now very different - it was spiraled instead of a loose strand. Wow! I thought to myself. What a great idea for fly tying! Guess what I did as soon as I returned home?

After designing the Big Yellow Mayfly I thought about other fly patterns I could tie using the twisted technique. Other adult insects with long, narrow bodies came to mind; caddisflies, grasshoppers, dragonflies and damselflies. I just happened to have a nice color of damsel blue poly yarn so I began to study the major characteristics and shape of the real insect. The following summer I was at one of my favorite trout lakes ready to test my new damselfly. While sitting in my boat about forty feet from shore, I observed something I had never seen before. Around six damselflies, like a squadron of war planes, were flying inches above the water. Then I heard a couple of splashes from fish feeding off the surface. It didn't appear they were rising to damselfies but I decided to try my new pattern anyway. I placed my cast in the vicinity of the rising fish. Crash! A small rainbow took it. What a thrill in dry-fly fishing. There is nothing more exciting than to go through the process of creating your own fly pattern and being rewarded with the sight of a rising fish taking your imitation!


Hook:  2X long, 1X fine, size 10.
Thread:  Blue 6/0.

Body:  Light blue Mylar or polypropylene strip and blue poly yarn.

Wing:  Dark Ducktail or deer hair.

Hackle:  Dark Saddle.

Wingcase:  Blue poly yarn from body.

Head:  Same as wingcase.

Tying Steps:

1. Cover the hook shank with thread from the front to the bend. Tie in the blue Mylar strip and cover about 2/3 of the hook shank. [like tinsel]

2. Cut one 4" strand of poly yarn and twist. Tie in the twisted body atop the hook shank extending at least the full length of the shank past the bend of the hook. Be sure to leave pleanty of yarn out the front for the wing case and head.

3. Tie in a sparse amount of bucktail over the body but do not exceed its length.

4. Make a few more thread wraps over the yarn to within one eye length of the hook eye. Pull the yarn back over the wing and wrap the thread over the yarn. Tie in the hackle and continue to wrap the thread to just short of the hook eye.

5. Wrap the hackle 3-4 turns and tie off with the thread. Pull the yarn over the middle of the hackle to form the wingcase and tie off with a whip-finish. Trim the yarn about 1/8 inch above hook eye. ~ Lee Clark

Publishers Note:
For anyone headed to Yellowstone National Park, tie this fly in RED for the Firehole River. Yes, there really are Red Damselflies there, and they are a bright red!

Credits: From Fly Tying with Poly Yarn published by Frank Amato Publications. We greatly appreciate use permission.

For more great flies, check out: Beginning Fly Tying, Intermediate Fly Tying and Advanced Fly Tying.

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