Fly Fishing Guide in West Georgia: the Flint, Chattahoochee, and around the southeast


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For a while it was the butterfly, then the hummingbird – you found them on all sorts of home and fashion items, from wind chimes to jewelry.  In the last couple of years the dragonfly has found itself the new darling of design. Strangely enough,  the dragonfly has never received much attention from anglers or in angling literature.  But the dragonfly is a major species in virtually all lakes and ponds, and even in some streams.

Above: Dragonfly nymphs, top view at left, bottom view on right.

  Everyone is familiar with the adult dragon, with its agile maneuvering and wide wingspan.  The nymph is little known, but is an important fish food in most lakes. With its two or three year lifespan, it is available all year long and grows quite large – up to two inches.  The size makes them a meaty bite for predatory fish, and their habits make them perfect as a searching pattern for fly-fishermen.  It is a fierce predator, often on the move, stalking and chasing prey.  The dragonfly nymph has a very distinctive shape – wide head, narrow thorax and bulbous abdomen.  It has a unique ability to draw water into its abdominal gills, and then squirt it out rapidly through its anus.  This makes for a jet-propulsion system that can propel the nymph several inches forward at great speed.

  I usually fish dragonfly nymph imitations with a varied retrieve to imitate the natural – a countdown to allow it to sink, the short twitching strips to imitate the stalk, with occasional quick strips to match the “jet propulsion.”  Large wet flies, like a Dark Cahill; work well as an imitator.  A favorite western pattern is the Carey Special, a chenille-body with long pheasant hackle.

 Perhaps the best imitation is the Rubber-Legged Dragon ( or RLD as it’s known by many), developed years ago by Callaway guide, Carter Nelson.


Dragonfly nymph at left, the Rubber-Legged Dragon on right.

The dragonfly nymph is a stalking predator. Stalking predators move very slowly, with lots of pauses and hesitations, and practically never with a regular rhythm. So that's the way we fish the RLD..........slow................. no slower than, about half that fast and you'll be about right. If they don't eat, lengthen the leader and fish it, yep, you guessed it,slower.



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