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Easy Georgia Entomology

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  • Easy Georgia Entomology

    Here is my take on our insects here in Georgia. We have them and lots of them. I do not know the thousand(s) different species and subspecies nor their latin names. Knowing the latin names may impress your girlfriend or other anglers but it will not impress a trout! All you as an angler need to know is the basic understanding of the life cycles of the most common aquatic insects. Sounds simple and it is.

    We have basically 5 groups of aquatic insects. They are Caddisflies, Mayflies, Stoneflies, Midges, and Terrestrials. I'll break them down with a little more detail to help understand their life cycle and what artificial flies resemble them.

    Caddisflies: resemble small moths as adults and maggots as larva. The larva is usually green, blue, or a color in between. This larva usually constructs small rocks or twigs to build a case in which they live. Native folk refer to them as "stick bait". Another type larva (or caddis) will construct a web on a rock that catches food material as it drifts by. You can imitate these by using a simple pattern of a Caddis larva in sizes 16-20. Using a bead head (BH) will help get the pattern down deeper.

    The Caddis also has a brief pupal stage where it leaves the stream bottom and heads to the surface. Using an Emerging Caddis Pupa or some other small Soft Hackle fished just under the surface can draw a strike. Another good thing to try with them is to allow the fly to float past you downstream and give it time to completely stop. This causes the fly to rise to the surface, imitating an emerger.

    Caddisflies are very common in our Georgia streams. When these insects begin a strong hatch, the trout will feed hard and heavily on them. An Elk Hair Caddis is the best pattern to use to match the Caddisflies and in sizes 14-20. The body color can be black, brown, green and yellow. These actually hatch each month of the year but March through May seem to be the best months.

    Mayflies: may not be as common as the Caddisflies here in Georgia. A problem with Mayflies is when some species hatch, they are only around for a couple of weeks. They are usually seen from March through June and again in September and October. Some of our hatches include the Quill Gordon, Sulfurs, and Blue Winged Olives. Keep in mind that our streams have different types of hatches and what you see on one stream may not be on the stream in the next divide. As nymphs, they crawl around on the bottom of rocks and submerged wood. We can imitate them by using nymph patterns like the Hare's Ear or Pheasant Tail in sizes 12-20.

    Mayfly emerger is when the nymph begins to change (hatch), and it swims to the surface of the stream. This is a deadly time for this insect as it has to float on the surface for a short time to allow their wings to dry. Using Mayfly emergers or soft hackles will draw a strike during this time. Keep in mind if you are seeing small takes and small dimple rings, the trout may be sipping Mayflies. Do not confuse this rise to the more violent rise or take of a Caddisfly. If you confuse the two, you'll have a tough day of fishing!

    Once this Dun gets it's wings dried and they are off flying around, you can imitate them by using flies like the Adams, Female Adams, Thunderheads, and Light Cahills in sizes 12-20. The Dun has to molt and then they are referred to as a Spinner. As a Spinner, you can also notice them laying their eggs as they bobble up and down along the stream. Keep in mind that some of the Adams type flies are hard to see, use the parchute pattern to increase the visibility of the fly.

    Stoneflies: are also found in many streams here in Georgia. Any of you that have fished with me know how fond I am of the Stonefly nymph. These nymphs are the king of the stream and are either black or brown. Many times, they have the largest bodies and offer trout a good meal. Several patterns like Kauffman's, Prince, large Pleasant Tails, and large Hare's Ear will suffice to imitate a stonefly in sizes 6-14.

    Although we have a good number of Stonefly nymphs, once they hatch they do not seem to be as common. They can resemble a caddis or a much larger bodied insect with wings that sweep back across their body. They can be imitated with a Yellow Sally, EHC, or Stimulators in sizes 12-16. I remember up in NC several years ago, I caught a Stonefly hatch taking place on Raven Fork (I think). Tied on a number 16 Yellow Sally and wore two out in maybe 2 or 3 hours. I was absolutely amazed at the larger than normal sized trout that would come up and bust this fly. Just one of those magical days!

    Midges: are a very small fly and sometimes hatch in big numbers. They are common and important on tailrace rivers like the Toccoa and Hooch. A few different patterns are the Griffith's Gnat and Midge patterns that are black, brown, white, and red in sizes 18-22. Smaller if you can tie them onto your tippet.

    Terrestrials: are not actually an aquatic insect or insects but rather a land type bug that found its way into a stream. Some can be blown into the water, knock off along with a leave, or whatever (they just end up in the water). These can be Ants, Inchworms, Wasps, and Yellowjackets. Common insects along pastures with streams are Crickets and Grasshoppers. These insects are important to trout and especially during the summer and fall months. Patterns like Black Ant, San Juan Worms, White Wet Fly, Tellico Nymph, and Crickets work good.

    Last edited by Reel'em In; 05-06-14, 10:17 PM. Reason: misspelled word
    Fish Hard! You Can Rest An Eternity.

    A North Georgia Fly Fishing Outfitter

  • #2
    Good info and simple to read! Thanks for also posting the flies used to imitate these!


    • #3

      Very simply stated. Thanks for the post.



      • #4
        Good post... Entomology 101
        "Fly Fishing Is Not A Team Sport"----Tom McGuane

        The fisherman now is one who defies society, who rips lips, who drains the pool, who takes no prisoners, who is not to be confused with the sissy with the creel and bamboo rod. Granted, he releases what he catches, but in some cases, he strips the quarry of its perilous soul before tossing it back in the water. What was once a trout – cold, hard, spotted and beautiful – becomes “number seven.”
        Tom McGuane


        • #5
          Nice Read on stream insects .

          Copied it to save .


          • #6
            how about hoppers for terrestials?


            • #7
              Yes, read the section covering Terrestrials.

              Grasshoppers are an important part in the life of a trout if it lives anywhere close to fields/pastures. Cricket or Hopper patterns like Dave's Cricket or a Letort Hopper work well to fool trout. There are an assortment of patterns on the market. Companies are now making several patterns with foam. Many look very real with eyes, legs, etc. Although they are costly, these do work well and we catch a lot of trout on them from late June through August.
              Fish Hard! You Can Rest An Eternity.

              A North Georgia Fly Fishing Outfitter


              • #8
                Great post, James. Thanks.
                Jimmy Harris
                Unicoi Liars Club
                Unicoi Outfitters Online Store


                • #9
                  Found this today while going back and forth between NGTO and troutbum. Just wanted to bump it back to present as its good info and also ask a few questions. Any very common bugs besides whats listed here occur in GA? just trying to familarize myself a lil more, right now I only know of BWO, Sulphurs, and possibly green drakes?
                  If fishing is religion, Fly Fishing is high church.

                  -Tom Brokaw-