A missed opportunity with damselflies

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The metamorphosis of damselflies from squiggly little, greenish nymphs to graceful, beautifully-blue adults is an annual event on many area lakes.

These damselflies are the primary reason I head over to the lakes of the Blackfeet Indian Reservation every July.

Hungry rainbow trout gobble up nymphs on their way to the surface, but the most fun fishing action happens when the fish are feeding in that couple of seconds when the nymphal case splits and the adult crawls out.

Plenty of fishing action happens within casting distance from shore, so a float tube isn’t necessary.

One late morning two weeks ago, on Hidden Lake, I found damsels hatching but my marabou-tailed, barbell-eyed nymphs were pretty much ignored.

I caught a few fish, up to 18 inches, but there had to be something I could have done better.

Even 6X fluorocarbon tippet made little difference.

I noted larger fish were jumping all the way out of the water and when I looked closely I could tell these trout were actually eating flying damselflies!

I had seen this happen years ago with bass taking flying dragonflies on Blanchard Lake, near Whitefish.

Unfortunately I had no adult damselfly patterns.

Then I did what any retired, fly fishing guy would do, I drove back to Hidden Lake last week with some beautifully tied adult damselfly patterns—that were totally ignored!

Oh, well, next up caddisflies and hoppers!

Jerry Smalley’s Fishful Thinking column appears weekly in the Hungry Horse News.

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