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  • Writer's picturePaul

3 Facts About Fishing With Terrestrial Dry Flies

Updated: Nov 1, 2021

Note the small bits of bright materials often tied onto the backs of terrestrials for even better visibility.

Fishing with dry flies. What's not to love?

Dry fly fishing means high levels of anticipation and totally visual strikes. The abundant fun factor there is awful tough to beat! While all dries are immensely entertaining to fish, for me the biggest excitement comes when fishing terrestrials. Flies in this category includes imitations of insects like ants, crickets, beetles, and grasshoppers — those bugs that live on terra firma; aka dry land. Terrestrials are my favorite types of flies to fish for trout, bar none. When these little critters fall into the water they represent tasty morsels to not only trout, but other species like bluegill, bass, and even carp.

Here's 3 morsels of info about this awesome category of flies...

1.) Easy to See: Terrestrial patterns are often very easy to see on the surface. Dry flies can come in shockingly small sizes that can disappear from sight during a presentation, thus making it tough to know when a fish has actually eaten your fly and not just an actual bug near it. Terrestrial flies like ant imitations can come in small sizes too, but many patterns and varieties of these flies are quite visible on the surface due to their size and bulk. But, to combat any issue of visibility, terrestrial patterns that might be harder to see are sometimes tied with a bright piece of material or other eye-catching detail on the back to be more easily spotted. For me, fishing a fly that's easily seen as it floats down the stream is much more enjoyable and relaxing than struggling to keep tabs on something super tiny.

2.) They Can Attract Big Fish: Terrestrials often represent a more substantial meal which can attract the attention of larger fish when other flies won't. A larger meal makes it much more worthwhile for a big fish to shoot out from its lair for a closer look. These bigger flies may also pull in fish from a further distance away since these patterns not only represent more calories, but they are simply more visible. Their beefier profiles also makes them great for low-light conditions, such as fishing after sunset. I've had some incredible evening fishing armed with nothing but a black beetle!

3.) Wind is Good: If you have a windy day during the warmer months, fly selection on the trout stream can sometimes be as simple as tying on a terrestrial. Brisk winds blow these bugs into the water where they drift downstream and are readily picked off. The result is often awesome fishing with some good quality specimens in the mix. Although I'll fish a terrestrial all over a given creek or river, some of the best action is often right along steeper banks and undercuts where these insects are likely to fall in. This makes it easy for those with limited casting or mending abilities since the fish may be just a rod's length (or less) away from where you're standing!

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