Insects – Live Bait
Most stream anglers get excited in the spring, the prime time to use natural baits and when the waters are cold.
Other excellent times to use natural baits such as aquatic insects, is when the water is discolored. After a summer rain for example.
Worms are a great natural bait for bass, however don’t discount the natural bait found in every natural habitat. Aquatic insects!
If you didn’t know, you’ll be surprised how fishing aquatic insects on light spinning tackle can pull in the bass. By passing a small hook through the tail and adding just enough weight to gently bounce the bait along the bottom, you’ll find yourself pulling in various species of bass.
Where to Fish Aquatic Insects
Regardless of where you live, during which season, or in what climate you live, there’s countless underwater activity by aquatic insects.
Clearly this is most noticeable when the insects are hatching and in the stage where they rise in clouds from the surface of the water to mate, lay eggs, etc.
However the bulk of aquatic insects live under the surface, crawling on lake and stream bottom and rocks, clinging to plant life or objects. These make up the primary diet of many fish.
If you fish them properly they can be more effective than worms for many of the smaller species, especially those that venture into streams.
Despite bass being a high level predator, they’re far from being the top predator in any environment they can be found. There’s other fish that will attack and eat them. There are bears and of course there are humans.
As such, when not doing anything else, bass will lay in cover and avoid bright light. Keep this in mind when fishing with insects.
Best place to use bass flies
Look for areas that have overhanging trees and bushes and that have plenty of shade. Lily pads also provide good cover. Now look for areas where weed beds and lily pad border clear water. It’s in these conditions that flies work very well.
Spring is the best time to use insect flies as they’re in abundance and constantly falling into the water from trees and bushes. Dry flies work very well in these conditions.
- Cast your fly under the trees where there’s shade.
- 30 minutes after sunrise is the best time to catch them.
Catching fish with insects the easy way
There are some funny stories to be told about collecting aquatic insects for bait. These insects are best collected by 2 people at once. Have one person stand slightly downstream from the current with an old window screen, while the other person wades back and forth overturning rocks and gravel with their feet.
Usually there’s lots of aquatic insects to be had once rocks are overturned and they drift downstream to the awaiting window screen. Large nymphs are easily caught this way, along with a large variety of other aquatic bugs.
Spring for insects
As we touched on earlier, spring is the best season for fishing with insects. For most parts of the winter many regions are relatively insects free.
As the temperature warms up, they come out, breed and increase rapidly in numbers proving to be an excellent and abundant supply of food for both fish and birds.
While other baits and lures will work during this time, due to the abundance of insects, fish are primed for this bait and will often focus on it.
For this reason we recommend taking advantage of this time and choose insects as your primary bait choice.