Troutnut.com Fly Fishing for Trout Home
User Password
or register.
Scientific name search:

Arthropod Class Insecta (Insects)

Pictures Below
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.


Pictures of 1200 Insect Specimens:

Specimen Page:1234...121
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 Mystery Creek #43 in New York
Added to Troutnut.com by Troutnut on October 4, 2006
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 Mystery Creek #43 in New York
Added to Troutnut.com by Troutnut on October 4, 2006
Specimen Page:1234...121

9 Streamside Pictures of Insects:

Streamside Photo Page:12
In this picture: Insect Family Formicidae (Ants). From the Little Naches River in Washington.
Date TakenJul 8, 2018
Date AddedJul 9, 2018
AuthorTroutnut
CameraNIKON 1 AW1
Callibaetis spinner on an alpine lake in Washington's Cascades, the one referred to by the alias of Upper Lake in my Golden Trout trip report.  In this picture: Mayfly Genus Callibaetis (Speckled Spinners). From Upper Lake in Washington.
Callibaetis spinner on an alpine lake in Washington's Cascades, the one referred to by the alias of Upper Lake in my Golden Trout trip report.

In this picture: Mayfly Genus Callibaetis (Speckled Spinners).
LocationUpper Lake
Date TakenSep 3, 2017
Date AddedSep 5, 2017
AuthorTroutnut
CameraNIKON 1 AW1
Cases made by larvae of some sort of Chironomid midge, which I photographed with my bug kit back in the studio.  In this picture: True Fly Family Chironomidae (Midges). From Mystery Creek # 249 in Washington.
Cases made by larvae of some sort of Chironomid midge, which I photographed with my bug kit back in the studio.

In this picture: True Fly Family Chironomidae (Midges).
Date TakenJul 25, 2019
Date AddedJul 26, 2019
AuthorTroutnut
CameraNIKON 1 AW1
Streamside Photo Page:12

114 Underwater Pictures of Insects:

Underwater Photo Page:1234...13
Hundreds of cased caddisfly larvae live on this log in a small brook trout stream.  In this picture: Insect Order Trichoptera (Caddisflies). From Eighteenmile Creek in Wisconsin.
Hundreds of cased caddisfly larvae live on this log in a small brook trout stream.

In this picture: Insect Order Trichoptera (Caddisflies).
Date TakenApr 14, 2004
Date AddedJan 25, 2006
AuthorTroutnut
Shown Full Size
Add
A Brachycentrus "Apple Caddis" pupa scoots around in the surface film.  Apparently it had some difficulty emerging, so I was able to slip my camera underneath it and take a picture from below.  In this picture: Caddisfly Species Brachycentrus appalachia (Apple Caddis). From the East Branch of the Delaware River in New York.
A Brachycentrus "Apple Caddis" pupa scoots around in the surface film. Apparently it had some difficulty emerging, so I was able to slip my camera underneath it and take a picture from below.

In this picture: Caddisfly Species Brachycentrus appalachia (Apple Caddis).
Date TakenApr 19, 2006
Date AddedApr 22, 2006
AuthorTroutnut
CameraPENTAX Optio WPi
In this picture: Saddle-case Maker Genus Glossosoma (Little Brown Short-horned Sedges). From the East Branch of Trout Brook in New York.
Date TakenSep 20, 2006
Date AddedOct 4, 2006
AuthorTroutnut
CameraPENTAX Optio WPi
Underwater Photo Page:1234...13

Recent Discussions of Insecta

Trico emergers 6 Replies »
Posted by Bwoklink on Jul 14, 2018 in the genus Tricorythodes
Last reply on Sep 11, 2020 by Martinlf
Anyone have experience fishing Trico emergers patterns? I’ve had experience fishing the winged and spinner stage, but haven’t heard of anyone fishing emergers during the early morning female hatch. Anyone used emerger patterns and if so would you might sharing which ones you have found effective?
ReplyPMD Spinner - Egg sack color? 20 Replies »
Posted by Wbranch on Jan 26, 2010 in the species Ephemerella excrucians
Last reply on Aug 18, 2020 by Troutnut
Do any of you entomologist types know the true color of the PMD spinner? Dorothea or excrucians. Where I fish in MT there are huge spinner falls, many spents are on the water in the morning and others fall again at various periods during the day. I'd like to tie some with egg sacks as I saw many in July but forgot what color they were. Thanks.
ReplyTrico Tips 50 Replies »
Posted by Martinlf on Jul 21, 2007 in the genus Tricorythodes
Last reply on Jul 31, 2020 by Martinlf
I'll start with a fly patterns, follow with a bit of what I think I know about Tricos (Entomologists, please offer corrections if needed), and close with a few questions.

I love designing different patterns for Tricos, partly to keep myself entertained, and partly to show the fish something new from time to time. Jason's photos and the opinions of some fussy fish have led me to tie an extra large thorax recently on all my Tricos. My old standby is a parachute tied reverse, with a high vis post over the bend of the hook, and grizzly hackle, with no tails. It's modeled on Al's Trico, which could be found on the Little Lehigh Flyshop website until Rod closed the shop. An internet search may provide images now. It's very visible and fish generally approve. My newest fly is a take off from one of Gonzo's (Lloyd Gonzales) patterns in his book Fly-fishing Pressured Water, and it also shows the influence of Al's Trico. Gonzo ties an upside down Trico on a wide gap hook using synthetic material for the wing. I tie this fly also, and it certainly does catch fish, but I recently tied a version with grizzly hackle, making an oversize thorax and palmering hackle over the thorax to create a full wing. I then clipped hackle from the top of the fly (which becomes the bottom, as this is an upside down fly) so that the fly would sit flat, upside down, on my tying table. A drop of Locktite brush-on super glue on the bare recently clipped thorax after darkening the hackle stem with black marker and the fly was done. (By the way, I put tails on this one to balance it [P.S. Later correction: this pattern doesn't need the tails. I've caught plenty fish now on a tailless version] .) It caught several fish the first time I tried it on a heavily fished stream.

I believe for some, if not most species of Tricos, males hatch at night, females in the morning, and that the spinners fall when the air temperature hits the upper 60's. This generally means that as the season goes on, spinners hit the water later and later. Sometimes by 7:00 am (or earlier) in the early summer, by 10:00 (or later) in the fall.

It's been unseasonably cool in the Northeast the past couple of days, and I would have gone out this morning but for taking my daughter to a midnight showing of The Order of the Phoenix (I just couldn't get up) but I'm wondering if the spinner fall happens later than normal on cool mid-summer mornings like today's. I hope to find out Monday, but am curious if anyone has experiences to share. Also, does anyone have an effective Trico pattern to share? I'm always looking for ideas.
ReplyGlossosoma intermedium or nigrior 5 Replies »
Posted by Wiflyfisher on Jun 30, 2020 in the genus Glossosoma
Last reply on Jul 31, 2020 by Creno
Caught and photographed in the Upper Midwest on May 12, 2020. I resized my original photo for the website.


(User-posted images are only viewable in the forum section.)




ReplyTiny Black Caddis hatch, late fall - Nov 26 to be exact_ Spring Creek Southern MO 21 Replies »
Posted by Dai_sca on Dec 29, 2010 in the family Hydroptilidae
Last reply on Dec 11, 2019 by Pdcox
I had not fished Bennett Spring for many years and ended up there on Nov 26. I was not very prepared for the stream's entemology, spoke to someone at the flyshop and went with fishing a midge or two and this was very successful. But it was quite obvious that the trout were feeding on the surface or just under and it wasn't a midge. As the day progressed and late afternoon brought sunshine, a hatch of Tiny Caddis(Black) appeared. I had a size 18 but it wasn't dark enough or small enough. A gent who fished the stream regularly gave me a #24 black Elk Hair(or other hair) caddis. The fish took this fly as a dry off the surface. I am hard pressed to ID this fly aside from Protoptila. This, however, is not a marginally temp spring, the water is consistent flow a cold. The description of the Protoptila indicates that this insect is more a warm water insect. The hatch was occurring right at the spring itself. Any ideas?

Again, this was a size 24 fly, and maybe,just maybe, a 26 or 28 might have been the appropriate size for the insect as there were obvious refusals at the surface.

David (dai_sca@yahoo.com
Reply
There are 3897 more topics.

Your Thoughts On Insecta:

You must log in at the top of the page to post. If you haven't registered yet, it's this easy:

Username:          Email:

Password:    Confirm Password:

I am at least 13 years old and agree to the rules.
Top 10 Fly Hatches
Top Gift Shop Designs
Top Insect Specimens
Miscellaneous Sites