The Ultimate Thompson-Nicola Hatch Guide

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The Ultimate Thompson-Nicola Hatch Guide
- Damselflies -
By Karl Bruhn

Order: Odonata, suborder Zygoptera
Genus: Enallagma

Indentifying Features
Nymphs: Easily identified by their long, slender bodies and sculling, side- to-side movement, they have three prominent tails, actually fan-like gills, and large, wide-set eyes. Dark olive is a common color, but color changes depending on habitat: brown in off-color lakes, for example.

Adults: Perhaps best known by their slim blue bodies they are more slender than the dragonfly, and the damselfly's large double set of wings is folded over the body when at rest, unlike the outstretched wings of the dragonfly at rest.

What to Look For
Emerging nymphs must crawl out of the water to become adults. Watch for them crawling up shoreline reeds or even anchor lines and the boat itself. Splashy near-shore rises are a good warning that damselflies are emerging. Also watch for split nymphal shucks clinging to shoreline reeds or debris.

Life Cycle
Nymphs develop over a period ranging from a few months to one year, going through several molts or instars during that time and growing larger with each. They remain hidden in dense weed growth throughout this development. Length at time of emergence is usually about four cm. When fully developed the nymphs look for something to crawl out on, often shoreline reeds. The shoreward swim takes place near the surface, with nymphs first rising towards the surface then levelling off. Once out of the water and clinging to reeds, the nymph waits to dry; the skin splits and the adult emerges. After the wings unfold and dry, adults take to the air. Females deposit their eggs in the lake. Spent or dead damselflies are rarely taken by fish.

When to Fish
Early June is the peak emergence time for many Kamloops lakes, normally lasting for a period of about two weeks. Watch weather conditions: a late-arriving spring delays the emergence, etc. Altitude also plays its usual role; higher lakes are somewhat later than more low-lying lakes. Nymph imitations fished deep over dense weeds can provide fast action for some time before emergence begins.

How to Fish
During the shoreward emergence swim of the nymphs, it is accepted angling practice to anchor within casting distance of shoreside reeds; dry lines are most often used with sinking patterns, allowing the fly to be retrieved just below the surface. Patterns with large, bulging eyes simulate the side-to-side

swimming motion of the naturals when the line is hand-twisted.

Fishing Tip
The just-below-surface swim of the emergers highlights them for trout looking up from below. This brings a swift and often savage response even from more cautious older fish: do not set hooks hard as the weight of larger fish will instantly pop tippets light enough to give the fly life.

Any indication of large numbers of flying adults should send anglers shoreward for signs of emerging nymphs.

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The Ultimate Thompson-Nicola Hatch Guide