Photo by Marc Kummel

Damsel Overview

  • Family: Damselfly
  • Size: 17-19mm (Size 8-10)
  • Emergence: Late June through mid August
  • Emergence Time: Late morning through early afternoon

The Damselfly hatch in Montana is very important on Georgetown Lake, one of Missoula’s best lakes to fly fish but are found in most lakes in Montana. They start hatching in late June, and will appear for at least a month, and often through August.

Fly Fishing The Damsel

While the adults are eaten, it’s the nymphs that are so important to the trout. Every morning from late June on, the damsel nymphs make their way into the shallows to emerge. This exodus to the shallows will bring trout from all over the lake to the shallows to gorge on this daily migration. Oddly enough, the damselfly hatch favors the shore bound angler. Because all the nymphs are moving towards the shore, a boat angler is moving their fly counter to the migration direction while the shore angler is moving their imitation in the correct direction. Trout will take the adults as they emerge and dry their wings, so make sure you have a couple dries with you.

Damselfly Nymph
Photo by Jan Hamrsky

Damsel Nymph

Your nymph imitations should be very active. A swimming damsel nymph is not efficient, so it looks like its doing the Watutsi as they swim! Their gills are waving, and their bodies are undulating. A good damselfly nymph is thin and active. Some of the best imitations are made of marabou, which mimics the damsel’s gills. Damsel nymphs are found in olive, and sometimes will range into brown. Carry a few in the darker colors just to make sure.

The Damsel is a true staple to still water trout. If you fly fish in Montana Stillwater’s, you must have damsels with you.

Additional Damsel Resources