Inchworm (Moth Larva) Fly
The inchworm, also called the spanworm, looper, sour worm and measuring worm, is the
larva stage of life for the moth. There are numerous species of them.
Inchworms are 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 pattern would be when you spot a few of them hanging
from tree limbs, especially during those times when a major hatch is not underway, which
is ninety percent of the time. If you haven't seen any of them on the banks, it's very
unlikely there will be any in the water. That doesn't mean you can't catch fish on the fly.
You probably can even if there are no inch worms hanging from the trees and bushes.
The fly also closely resembles other foods such as Rock Worms (free living caddis
larvae) and some of the net-spinning caddis larvae.
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.
Most of the 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.
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