If You Like Explosive Takes, Fish Terrestrials!
What Is The Terrestrial Fly Hatch? How To Fly Fish The Terrestrials.
by Mike Ryan • July 24, 2019 in Fly Hatches
What are the Terrestrials?
Ants & Termites: Size 12 to 20. Ants are available to trout from May to October. Most ants float when they fall into a river, but some sink. Some have wings, some don't. The winged ants are more likely to end up in a river from wind gusts, and therefore, more likely to be the pattern of choice for selective trout.
Colors vary from shades of red, orange, brown and black. Dead drift an ant pattern as a dry fly with floatant applied, or let the ant sink as a dropper fly, with a hopper in front of it. (Our Transpar-Ant is a very effective sinking ant) Keep a good assortment of sizes, colors, winged and non-winged ants to tip the odds in your favor.
Beetles: This is a diverse group of insects, ranging in size from #8 to #20, and colors equally as varied as size. Windy days will blow these high calorie treats in the river for opportunistic trout to enjoy. Check the bushes along the bank to see what those trout might be looking for, and be prepared for the diversity of this group of insects with a range of sizes and colors.
Most beetles float, so apply floatant to a beetle and dead drift it downstream of bushes (especially overhanging) and tall grass, next to undercut banks. These are likely places where a trout is waiting for that beetle to fall out of the sky!
Cicadas: These insects live underground as a nymph for many years, then emerge as an adult. While hatches are sporadic from 1 year to the next, when the adults hatch, trout will be watching for these large, clumsy flying insects to plop onto the river. Dead drift this fly, and hang on! These are fun flies to fish because of their enormous size and enthusiastic grabs.
Crickets: Generally, crickets are dark in color ranging from #10 - #16, and are high on a trouts diet preference, appearing in rivers all summer and fall. Like most other terrestrials, apply floatant and dead drift this fly. Trout love big, caloric meals.
Grasshoppers: Hoppers are most abundant from July through September, and represent a large, caloric meal to a trout. They are cold blooded, so warm, sunny days make them quite active and fly. (if you arrive early in the cool morning, wait to fish a hopper until later in the day) Hoppers are hapless in flight, so when the wind blows, they often end up landing in the water.
While stealthy casts are important most of the time, the plop of a grass hopper hitting the water will often trigger a strike. Dead drifts are effective, but try twitching the fly to simulate a hopper kicking its legs, struggling to swim back to shore. Undercut banks downstream of tall grass are prime places for fish to lie in wait of a hopper. Target these areas for eager trout.
Hoppers vary in sizes and colors, so be prepared with a variety. Some hoppers ride low in the water, so grease only the front half of a half drowned hopper, and be prepared for some enthusiastic grabs!
That's a lot of bugs! So what should you fish? Look at the brush and the tall grass next to the bank. Look at the ground. Look at what is flying overhead. What you see is probably on the diet of those fish! Stomach content studies of trout indicate that they target terrestrials all season, so go prepared with a good assortment. ..and fishing a hopper pattern when fish are not rising is often very effective.
Don't forget to double down with a Hopper/Dropper or Double Terrestrial rig. Hopper/Dropper: Tie on a hopper, an 8 - 12 inch tippet (depending on the depth of the river) to the bend of that hook, and a dropper nymph, like a Pheasant Tail or Copper John. The hopper will get some bites, and it will also serve as a strike indicator for the nymph below. Double Terrestrial: Instead of a sinking nymph, tie on an ant or other terrestrial. (this is the perfect time to fish a sinking ant!)
DiscountFlies offers 3 Terrestrial Fly Collections that will prepare you for some amazing terrestrial fly fishing, along with a wide variety of high quality Terrestrials, tied on Gamakatsu, Tiemco or Daiichi hooks. Shop Now