Damsel Wiggle Nymph

I originally was given this pattern by David Allerton, a friend and fine fresh and saltwater flyfisher from Florida. He was using it at the time to haul in one Smallmouth after another on the Shennandoah. I liked the pattern then and since have learned to love it even more. It has produced 24" Cutthroats out of Trout Lake in Yellowstone; Smallmouth, Bluegills, and Red-eye out of Lower Abrams Creek; and Rainbows and Browns out of the Clinch, S. Holston and Watauga. It's called a Damsel Wiggle Nymph, but I've found it a good producer whether there are any damsels present or not. It is definetly one of those flies that you always want to have along.


HOOK: Mustad 9671 or 2X Nymph hook (#8-12)
TAIL: A few strands of olive and brown marabou
ABDOMEN: Butts from the tail
RIBBING: The olive tying thread
WING CASE: 4-5 strands of peacock herl
THORAX: Olive hare's ear dubbing, picked out
EYES: Burnt monofilament


1. Secure the hook in the vise and begin wrapping the thread at the front of the hook. Wrap the thread back to the bend.
2. Take about 8-10 strands of individual olive marabou fibres and about 3-4 strands of individual brown marabou fibres. Position them as the tail about hook length long. Take a couple of wraps of thread to secure the tail at the bend of the hook. Then holding the tail in place wrap the marabou forward around the hook to form the abdomen. Spiral the thread forward to secure the marabou in place.
3. Trim the excess marabou in the area of the thorax and wrap the thread back to the front of the abdomen (about 1/2 hook length).
4. Tie in 4-5 strands of peacock herl at the front of the abdomen for the wing case.
5. Dub in olive hare's ear or other coarse dubbing for the thorax.
6. Pull the peacock herl over the top of the thorax and secure just behind the eye of the hook, leaving space for the mono eyes to be tied in.
7. Secure a pair of burnt monofilament eyes just behind the eye of the hook.
8. Whip finish.
9. Pick out the underside of the thorax to form "legs


1. The fly can be tyed weighted or unweighted.
2. Try a bead head version instead of with mono eyes.
3. Try in a other colors (orange, lime green, brown or black).
4. Instead of picked out legs try partridge tied in as a beard.


The Damsel Wiggle Nymph can be fished in a variety of ways. The fly can be tied unweighted and fished with a small split shot about 6-8" up the tippet or it can be tied weighted. It can be fished much like a streamer or wooly bugger. In slow or still water it is usually best to give the fly a little time to sink before beginning the retrieve or you can use a sinking tip line depending upon the depth that you would like to achieve. It can be worked upstream, downstream or cross-current.
The fly can also be fished as a nymph - usually weighted using short line nymphing technique without a strike indicator. This can be especially effective in faster water.
The fly has proven effective on a wide variety of fresh water fish: trout, smallmouth, bluegill, red-eye, crappie and even largemouth. No matter what it is I'm fishing for, this is one of the flies that I want to have in my flybox.