Aquatic Moths

Scientific Name: order Lepidoptera

Aquatic moths are very important to fly fishers at certain times of the year. Unfortunately, their importance is mostly negative.

Aquatic moths are similar to caddis in their appearance and development. Larvae live underwater, they pupate underwater, and the pupa rises to surface, where the adult emerges. Females lay their eggs by diving under the water, just like many caddis species. Emergence is during the summer. Sounds good so far, right?

Unfortunately, aquatic moths are mostly nocturnal in their habits. Larvae cover themselves with silt during the day, and come out at night to feed. Pupation occurs in the silt, and emergence is at night. Adults lay eggs at night.

So aquatic moths, bless their little hearts, are mostly available to trout at night. And trout will fatten up on them during the dark hours, then feel no reason to inhale your silly little fly during the daytime because they're sated.

Unless it's legal to fish at night in your state (it's not in mine), and unless you think stumbling around rushing streams in the dark is a rational fishing strategy, you're pretty much restricted to casting adult imitations at dawn or dusk. Swinging a Soft Hackle at that time can prove productive. Treat the opportunity like you would for a diving, egg-laying caddis.

Characteristics

LARVA COLOR: Tan, brown

PUPA SIZE: 3-15 mm

PUPA COLOR: Tan, brown

ADULT SIZE: 3-15 mm

ADULT COLOR: Tan, brown

OTHER CHARACTERISTICS: Adults resemble caddisflies

Click on the fly name to see the pattern. Click on the presentation to learn how to do it.

STAGE PATTERN SIZE/
COLOR
PRESENTATION WHERE
Egg-layer Soft Hackle 10-18
light brown, tan
surface swing, deep swing runs