How to Fish Near a Spruce Moth

by Zach Lazzari
The spruce moth is abundant in timbered areas.

The spruce moth is abundant in timbered areas.

Stephen Schauer/Digital Vision/Getty Images

The spruce moth is an abundant terrestrial insect in the northern Rocky Mountains. The moth occupies timbered areas and flies around bankside vegetation during summer mating swarms. Many of the mating moths fall into the water where they become a food source for trout. Fishing with the moth is simple and exciting. The fish focus on eating the insect before the moth becomes submerged and visual strikes are the norm. The spruce moth does not attract the same attention as salmonfly hatches and grasshopper infestations but it remains an important part of the summer trout diet.

Items you will need

  • 9 ft. leader
  • Tan elk hair caddis dry fly
  • Line clipper
  • Silicon gel floatant
Step 1

Locate a stand of timber near a river or lake. Look for timbered areas bordered by grass banks and overhanging vegetation. Use a boat or wade in the water until you reach a position that faces the bank.

Step 2

Tie a tan elk-hair caddis or stimulator dry fly on the end of a 9-foot leader with a clinch knot. This is a fishing fly that resembles the moth. Insert the leader through the hook eye and make seven twists in the leader. Insert the end of the leader through the loop at the base of the twists and pull the leader to tighten the knot.

Step 3

Apply a thin layer of silicon gel floatant to the wing on the fly. Do not apply floatant to the body material because the spruce moth's wings maintain buoyancy but the body absorbs water and sits low in the surface film.

Step 4

Cast as close to the bank as possible. The moth is not aquatic and falling in the water is an accidental occurrence. Add extra force to the forward motion on the cast to create extra noise as the fly hits the water.

Step 5

Point your rod tip directly at the floating fly and follow it in the direction of the current. Jerk the rod tip to the side to add a twitch to the fly every three seconds. Repeat the cast and drift along the bank until a fish grabs the fly.

Tips & Warnings

  • Use a size 12 fly to imitate the spruce moth. The natural is closer to a size 14, but the large wings are best imitated with a larger fly.

Photo Credits

  • Stephen Schauer/Digital Vision/Getty Images