Terrestrial insects are insects that are born on land and live on land but occassionally, usually accidentally, get into the
water. One reason I think they get into the water accidentally, is because as soon as they do, they try to get back to dry
land. The other reason is I have seen grasshoppers blown into rivers on very windy days.
Let me get one thing straight from the beginning. About the only time you would possibly find more terrestrial insects in
trout streams than aquatic insects would be after strong winds or high water levels washed them in the streams. Unlike
what many have written and contend, terrestrial insects would rarely, if ever, make up the most plentiful or available
food for the trout to eat. This isn't to say they are not effective or that trout cannot be taken on imitations of terrestrials
because they can. I'm basing this on many hours spent with various types of drift nets being placed in the streams to
catch drifting insects. Angie and I did that in most all of the stream over a period of several years. The results was,
very, very few terrestrial insects were caught except for a couple of times the water levels were high and water was
draining from around the streams back into the streams. On a normal day on a given trout stream, you would be hard
pressed to find any terrestrial insect drifting downstream in the current. Although there's less aquatic insects in the late
Summer and early Fall than any other time of the year, there's still plenty of them available for the trout to eat.
Inch worms are very abundant and have a widespread distribution. Inchworm is one of many common names for the
larvae of moths. They are also called loopers, spanworms sour worms and measuring worms. At times the worm-like
larvae will suspend several inches from limbs on a silk thread they produce. They do this when theyare ready to
pupate. Most trout streams are surrounded with trees and bushes that have numerous species of them.
Inchworms are usually a yellowish/green color. Most of them are green. At times the worm like larvae will suspend
several inches from limbs on a silk thread they produce. They do this hanging act when they are ready to pupate. It is
common for them to fall into the water. In fact, if they are suspended over the water, they are going to fall into the water.
A good time to try an inchworm imitation would be when you spot a few of them hanging from tree limbs, especially
during those times when a major aquatic insect hatch isn't underway, which is about ninety percent of the time. If you
haven't seen any of them on the tree limbs along the banks, it's very unlikely there will be any in the water. That
doesn't mean you can't catch fish on an fly that imitates them. You can probably can catch a few trout even when there
are no inch worms hanging from the trees and bushes. The fly also closely resembles several other foods trout feed
on. One is Rock Worms or free living caddisfly larvae. The inch worm fly also is a fairly good imitation of some of the
net-spinning caddisfly larvae present in most trout streams.
The different species of inchworms pupate at different times of the year. You will find them throughout the Summer, but
heavy only at certain times. Once the trout have seen
them, it doesn't seem to matter if they are lots of them or not. They seem to take the fly
regardless of the quantities available.
As with most terrestrial insect imitations, you should fish the "Perfect Fly" Inch Worm Fly near the banks, concentrating
on those with overhanging limbs of trees and bushes. Many small streams have tree limbs that about cover the entire
width of the stream.
The Inchworm fly can be fished with or without any added weight A very good method is to use a large fly such as a
hopper as an indicator, and fish the inchworm larvae imitation below it at a depth depending upon the depth of the
water you are fishing. Not only is the large fly a good strike indicator, it may also get some action from the trout. Our
larger size Sandwich Hoppers work great for this.
Of course, you can also use a strike indicator. We almost always fish the fly without an indicator, or a large dry fly
tandem rig. You can detect the strike simply by watching your line and leader. That's our preferred way of fishing the fly
but it does require more concentration to detect strikes.
August, 2019 Issue
Copyright 2019 James Marsh
by James Marsh
Although there are a huge number of different species of beetles, there may be more ants in sheer total numbers. I say
"may" be because I really don't know. It is only a guess. I do know most trout streams have a large number of both
along the streams, and that a few of them both probably end up in the water at times to get eaten by trout.
Looking at the stream flows this morning on a certain western trout stream, along with the long range weather forecast,
tells me that as much as I would like for it to be over, anglers fishing there may be fishing high water for another week.
The high water made me think of beetles, the terrestrial type, not the aquatic type. They will get washed into the
streams from receding high water levels. Every time I notice water draining from flooded areas back into the streams, I
picture helpless ants and beetles being carried along in the flow. That's exactly where I think trout may be getting a
emergency handout or a free meal.
I venture to say there are far, far more beetles that get washed into the water than grasshoppers, but I'm not sure
about ants. Their populations are huge, but according to biologist, beetles are also very plentiful. I also know that the
diversity of the Coleoptera group of insects (beetles) is huge. There are almost as many different colorful beetles
crawling around on trout streams as there are different styles and colors of ladies shoes.
Somewhere, during my beetle research as relates to cold water trout streams, I discovered that the Japanese Beetle
was probably the most plentiful of all that accidentally get turned into trout food. I ask google and found in the first of
several thousand entries that Japanese beetles are one of the most common pests in Northeast gardens. I found the
same thing stated about southern gardens. I found the same thing stated about all areas of the country, gardens or
wilderness. These insects were accidentally introduced with infested irises from Japan for the 1916 World's Fair.
Anyway, that's why I developed a Perfect Fly imitation of it.
Most of the ants around cold water trout streams are carpenter ants. There are many other different types. Most all
of them are black. I have seen only a few colonies of brown ants as compared to the black ones.
I'm also including flying ants in this. They can be extremely plentiful at times during the late summer and early fall,
but predicting when and where they will be is impossible. You just have to keep a few imitations in your fly box or
otherwise, be greatly disappointed when and if you do encounter them falling in the water in large numbers.
Perfect Fly's - Black Ant: 14/16
Perfect Fly's - Black Carpenter Ant: 16/18
Perfect Fly's - Brown Carpenter Ant:16/18
Perfect Fly's - Brown Flying Ant: 14/16
(modest abundance, isolated distribution)
Perfect Fly Sandwich Hopper 6, 8, 10, & 12
Imitations of grasshoppers are a group of our most popular flies simply because most anglers, those just getting
started and those highly experienced, recognize. Don't worry about the fly sinking somewhat in rough water. That is
exactly what the real ones do. The sandwich hopper is our most popular because it comes in several sizes and
since they float good, they are often used in dropper rigs or as a fly to drop other flies from.
The Dave's Hopper, pictured on your right below, is the best imitation of a grasshopper we have seen. You do not
always need the high floating foam bodied flies. The real ones only float high in the water for a short time. The
Dave's hopper looks much like the real things.
Cicadas are of the subfamily Cicadoidea, with large eyes wide transparent, veined wings. There are about
2,500 species of cicada around the world, and many remain unclassified. Most cicadas go through a life cycle
that lasts from two to five years. Some species have much longer life cycles, such as the North American
genus, Magicicada, which has a number of either a 17-year or, in some parts of the world , a 13-year life
cycle. They are eaten by birds, fish and other animals. They usually emerge in very large quantities and
provide plenty of food for fish of various species. Our Perfect Fly Cicada imitation work for bass, bream and
Crickets are in the family Gryllidae and are terrestrial insects that are somewhat related to grasshoppers. The
banks of many trout streams have crickets. Wind, water and simple mistakes made by jumping crickets often
cause them to end up as trout food. Field crickets are black and range from ½ to 1-1 ¼ inches long. These
are generally found in pastures and meadows. Crickets damage field crops like wheat and oats. Female
crickets deposit their eggs in moist soil in the Fall. They hatch in two to three weeks. The newly hatched
insects look similar to the grown adults except for their size. They are wingless, and develop into adults in
about four months. The adult cricket dies during the Winter.
Like grasshopper imitations, fish cricket imitations near the banks for the best results.
Perfect Fly Orange Sandwich Hopper
Perfect Fly Flying Ant
Perfect Fly Black Ant
Perfect Fly Carpenter Ant
Perfect Fly Cicada
Perfect Fly Cricket
Perfect Fly Japanese Beetle