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.
» Class Insecta (Insects)
1 order isn't included.
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 1228 Insect Specimens:
114 Underwater Pictures of Insects:
Underwater Photo Page:1234
Date AddedApr 22, 2006
CameraPENTAX Optio WPi
Underwater Photo Page:1234
Recent Discussions of Insecta
Trico nymphs and emergers 5 Replies »
Recently I decided to tie up some trico soft hackle flies, and wanted to do as I have been for a while tie up Nymphs, emergers, and drys to have a better arsenal in my offerings.ReplyPossible ID 2 Replies »
I find very little on trico nymphs, and less for emergers.
Would really like to see some photos of the actual bug with actual measurements not hook sizes.
In searching for nymphs in my small stream in northern Maryland, 500 yards from the PA line, I came across a 2 tailed mayfly that was not a of the Epeorus genus. ReplyHexagenia orlando 5 Replies »
It was in a fast riffle section along with Epeorus nymphs. This was about 3/8” in overall length including tails. Darker straw coloration with dark brownish black wing cases that were pronounced in color and shape. Biggest factor was the tails. Median caudal filament was truncated, very small compared to the outer pair. Not even sure if tail/ caudal filament should be used to describe. In my books the closest thing is the Pseudocloeon futile. Which is an old taxonomic name I’m finding out.
This find seems rare in my area and experience. Hopefully I can get a photo...
Does anyone have any hatch dates for hexagenia orlando in the Central Florida area? Several lakes near me have populations and I am gathering data. I have photos and one hatch record.ReplyYea...
Me too looking for photos or better yet, video of matching. These things seem to pop outa the water like no other ......ReplyTrico emergers 6 Replies »
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?Reply
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