The spruce moth: the sleeper hatch of southwest Colorado. Spruce moths are a strange terrestrial that you don’t often hear about. Much publicity is given to the glory hatches of stones, caddis, and mayflies. Terrestrials such as ants and hoppers are even given their due. But moths? You are not serious. Such things are left to the young and ill-informed who strive to emulate silly things like mosquitos and houseflies…right?
Spruce moths live a strange year-long lifecycle of hatching out of their eggs in the tops of trees as immature larvae where they spend the winter in small silken cases. Come spring, they eat their case, and chow on budding trees and forage. Around the beginning of July these moths pupate and become adults, where they fly from the tops of trees, mate, lay eggs, and continue the circle of life.
During this time of free love and egg laying, many of these moths find their way to a local body of water. Actually, spruce moths are not that great at flying and their wings are about as strong as one-ply toilet paper. Any small gust of wind or drop of water will pretty much do them in and it is not uncommon to see thousands floating down the local river, struggling in the surface film. Trout also notice this and will chow moths with little reservation. These “moth-falls” can be so thick, that trout will even set up in feeding lanes and gorge on a steady flow of doomed moths with waterlogged wings.
So if you plan on hitting any river, creek, or lake that resides within timbered forests of spruce and pine, you will want to have a few Stimulators, Elk Hair Caddis, or our personal favorite: the Fat Head Moth. The Fat Head Moth can be fished dead drift, skittered, skated, swung, or stripped. When the spruce moth is out, you would be hard pressed to find a better imitation than the Fat Head Moth.
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