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Insects

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****Insecta

This common name refers to only one class.

Arthropod Class Insecta

These are pretty much always called Insects.
Nearly a million species of insects have been described by entomologists. I have left several of them off of this site, just to save time, but I've tried to include all the main aquatic insects trout eat in North America.

This site focuses on aquatic insects, of which the most important are mayflies (Ephemeroptera) and caddisflies (Trichoptera). Stoneflies (Plecoptera) come in third, a position arguably challenged by the many two-winged true flies of the Diptera order, which includes midges and craneflies. I've also included some terrestrial (Terrestrial: Insects which live on land and are fed on by trout only when they incidentally fall into the water are known as "terrestrials" to fly anglers, and they're very important in late summer.) insects which I've found on or near trout streams. Terrestrials (Terrestrial: Insects which live on land and are fed on by trout only when they incidentally fall into the water are known as "terrestrials" to fly anglers, and they're very important in late summer.) like ants, beetles, and grasshoppers are an important food source for trout in many places, especially during the summer months.

Aquatic insects do not live their entire lives in the water. Instead, they grow for a year (give or take quite a bit) as nymphs or larvae underwater, and then they emerge into air-breathing winged insects for a short while to mate and die. There are many variations on this theme.

The most important aquatic insects for fly fishermen are mayflies, stoneflies, caddisflies, and midges. Mayflies and caddisflies are the most discussed by angler-entomologists, because it's so useful to closely identify them. The behavior of their species guides the behavior of feeding trout, and an angler who understands the lifecycle of a particular species has the upper hand when it's hatching. This is not so important for stoneflies and midges, because their hatching behavior is less variable.
Pteronarcys biloba (Knobbed Salmonfly) Stonefly NymphPteronarcys biloba (Knobbed Salmonfly) Stonefly Nymph View 17 Pictures
Collected May 6, 2007 from in
Added to Troutnut.com by on May 10, 2007
Corydalus (Dobsonflies) Hellgrammite LarvaCorydalus (Dobsonflies) Hellgrammite Larva View 27 Pictures
Collected May 29, 2007 from in
Added to Troutnut.com by on June 4, 2007
Male Baetis (Blue-Winged Olives) Mayfly DunMale Baetis (Blue-Winged Olives) Mayfly Dun View 14 PicturesThis dun molted most of the way into a spinner (though the wings got stuck) the evening after I photographed it, so I took some more photos of the spinner.

I found a female nearby, probably of the same species.
Collected September 19, 2006 from in
Added to Troutnut.com by on October 4, 2006
Male Isonychia bicolor (Mahogany Dun) Mayfly SpinnerMale Isonychia bicolor (Mahogany Dun) Mayfly Spinner View 15 PicturesI got several really nice pictures of this spinner. I also collected a female on the same trip.
Collected August 9, 2006 from in
Added to Troutnut.com by on August 11, 2006
Brachycentrus (Grannoms) Caddisfly PupaBrachycentrus (Grannoms) Caddisfly Pupa View 10 PicturesThe green blob contained in this case is a pupa in the early stages of transformation from larva to the final stage we generally picture and imitate. This specimen and several like it were fixed to a rock I picked up, and each one had the front of its case sealed off, protecting the helpless pupa from predation. It's neat to see the insect part-way through such a radical transformation.

It was very hard to extract this thing from its case, so there's a bit of extra goo near the head from where I accidentally punctured it.
Collected April 14, 2007 from in
Added to Troutnut.com by on April 22, 2007
Neophylax (Autumn Mottled Sedges) Caddisfly AdultNeophylax (Autumn Mottled Sedges) Caddisfly Adult View 20 PicturesThis large caddisfly looks really neat close-up.
Collected September 19, 2006 from in
Added to Troutnut.com by on October 4, 2006
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