“Terrestrial Patterns” are flies that imitate insects that are not normally found in the water, like grasshoppers, cicadas, beetles, ants, etc. Once these bugs fall into the water, they’re essentially helpless, struggling on the surface, making them an easy target for a big trout looking to get an easy, high-protein snack. With the peak of terrestrial fishing being in the middle of the summer, we thought we’d share our best tips for success when you have a terrestrial pattern tied on your leader!
Fish the Overhangs
Undercut banks and overhanging trees, rocks and shrubs are prime summertime water for trout trying to stay out of the sun and still grab a quick meal. Once you identify these spots in your water, start tossing terrestrial patterns along the edges of these hot-spots and wait for a trout to come snake out of his hidey-hole and rise to crush your fly.
Always Have a Dropper Attached
If you’re not seeing risers around having a dropper nymph dangling below your terrestrial is always a good idea. The fish in the picture above refused my buddy’s dry before snacking on the zebra midge hanging below. It’s never a bad idea to have more than one fly in the water at a time. Since most terrestrial dry flies are made with foam, they float like a cork, acting as an indicator for the nymph below. Just wait for the dry to sink below the surface and set hard!
A Loud Splash is Good
Since most terrestrial bugs end up in the water by accident, you can allow your fly to splash down hard, mimicking the bug crash landing. You’ll be surprised how quick and hard a trout will hit a terrestrial. Place your fly under overhanging branches or areas where vegetation overhangs the water. Hungry trout will be nearby waiting for the splashdown to make their presence known!
Windy and Rainy Days Are Money
Hands down the best times to be fishing terrestrials is in the rain and during windy days. If you can find a day with both, your in for a great time. Rain and wind knock bugs off their perch or out of the air. Definitely make sure you’re not fishing during a thunderstorm, but next time some showers come through your area, give a fat grasshopper a shot drifted low under some grass.
Dan Zazworsky’s passion is sharing his love of fly fishing with anyone that will listen, read or watch. You can find him exploring new waters every day while chasing any fish that will eat a fly!