4 Reasons to Know Your Bugs

So you can catch more fish on the fly

Knowing the difference between a mayfly or a caddis or a midge nymph from a caddis nymph is key to your success on the water.  It goes without saying (though I’ll say it anyway) that knowing your insects will catch you way more fish than what the anglers without this knowledge do.  Without this knowledge, you can really only guess at what they may eat in your fly box, which will leave you choosing your latest “confidence fly” instead of the fly that the fish are eating.  

We’re going to give you 4 excellent reasons that you should know your bugs when you’re on the water so you can finally get yourself motivated enough to learn and improve the way you fly fish.

  1. You’ll gain the respect of your fishing buddies
  2. You’ll get a deeper appreciation for fly fishing and trout
  3. You’ll stop the endless guessing
  4. You’ll catch more fish than ever before

You’ll Gain the Respect of Your Fishing Buddies

And they’ll give you more beer around the campfire

We all want to be that guy who out-fishes his fly fishing buddies on the river time after time.  For most of us, that guy is the angler who seems to know something we don’t.  The info he knows that you don’t is your entomology.  He doesn’t have to waste half his day changing fly after fly until he get lucky enough to hook a few fish that are eating the fly he threw on.  Instead, he spends his time observing and understanding what the bugs are doing and how the trout are responding to them.  He then, quietly selects the correct insects and fishes behind you calmly as he catches fish after fish after fish.

If you want to be the savvy angler of your group, then learn your bugs.  You’ll save tons of time on the river figuring out what they are eating by using the skills learned in our online entomology course and you’ll use that time instead for catching more fish.

With all those fish to your net by the end of the day, your friends won’t wait to liquor you up so you can divulge the secrets of your success around the campfire.

You’ll Get a Deeper Appreciation for the Sport

With Understanding Comes Wisdom and with Wisdom, Appreciation

There is something special that comes along with learning your insects.  The opportunity that you get when you can step into a river, observe and identify the natural insects that the local trout are feeding on, and then imitate that in your fly box with success, is one of the most rewarding experiences  you can have in fly fishing.  

Without the knowledge of knowing your insects and applying that knowledge, even a great day on the water leaves with this feeling that “you got lucky” and the fish gods smiled upon you to allow you to catch fish.  When you know your insect entomology, the success rests in your hands and you can walk away with a deeper satisfaction than ever before.  

The simple understanding of insects deepens the quest of catching trout.  Once you are able to understand their environment, it brings joy and satisfaction to every trout you catch.  Letting them go slowly gives an opportunity to connect with their lives for a brief moment, and with your understanding of entomology, it deepens the connection.

Spend time learning your bugs, and you’ll find a deeper connection and satisfaction with fly fishing that is only reserved for those dedicated enough to truly learn and understand the trout’s environment in a detailed and personal way.  It’s a journey all anglers must take to truly experience fly fishing in its entirety.

You’ll Stop The Endless Guessing

You Can Eliminate Much of the Unknown with Insect Knowledge

We all have had those days where we throw every fly in our box only to have the last fly we try fish insanely well.  All that tying and changing of flies means you lost time fishing and I haven’t met a single angler ever who enjoys rigging up more than fishing.

Once you know your insects, all that’s left is outsmarting the trout with your presentation and making sure you’re in the right location.  Now these are difficult enough in themselves, but even novice anglers have a decent understand of where to find fish and how to cast to them.  It’s not that they don’t know what to do, they just need more practice at doing it.  Fly selection on the other hand, often gets left behind as it requires the most effort to learn and understand the knowledge needed to catch more fish.

Think about it.  Out of the things we can control in fly fishing, fly selection leaves you with the most ambiguity and questions if you don’t have the knowledge to determine what the trout are eating.  Presentation is practice, we know what to do for the most part, but doing it correctly takes practice and patience.  There isn’t much we can do about location most times unless you have unlimited time and resources, so we often choose rivers by convenience and desired experience.  Weather is totally out of our control and that leaves us with fly selection. 

With the knowledge of fly selection, we can really turn the tables on our fishing success.  If you had no idea what fly to use and just had to guess, vs the other angler who knew the flies the trout were eating, who do you think would catch more fish?  

Learning your bugs will stop the frustration of the unknown on the water which in turn gives you a greater experience on the water.

You’ll Catch More Fish Than Ever Before

It wouldn’t be strange to double the fish counts

Every time I start may day disciplined and spend 5 minutes with my bug seine in the water, analyzing and researching what I see in the river in terms of insect activity, weather, flow etc and then put that knowledge against the flies I choose in my box, I catch twice as many fish.  When I was a beginner I went from 2 fish to 4 fish in a day.  Now that I have more experience under my belt, my numbers are in the double digits consistently when I use my fly selection knowledge.

We spend a huge amount of time talking about fly selection here at The Catch and The Hatch, not because it’s more important than presentation or location, but because it is almost always the weakest part in a fly fishermen’s skill set.  I know guys who can double haul 100ft of line while holding a beer, but can’t tell me the difference between a stonefly nymph and a mayfly nymph or identify the difference on the river and know what flies to use to imitate those insects.  If they spent just a little more time on their fly selection knowledge, they would double the amount of fish they’d catch.  I’ve seen it with experienced guides and with beginners alike. 

If you know you need to learn more about your bugs, make the decision today to learn.  There’s tons of free and premium resources out there that can help.  We’ve built an online entomology course that teaches everything you need to know about fly selection.  Check out the details below if you’re interested, but regardless if you use our course or not, commit to learning your bugs and you’ll take your fly fishing game to the next level.  You have 5 very good reasons to learn, take advantage of the knowledge that is out there.

Online Courses

Craft Your Fly Box
  • Craft Your Fly Box Course

    All your fly selection skills are worthless if you don’t have the right flies in your box when it counts. Learn how to always have the right flies in your box with our newest course!


    • Learn the best fly boxes to own for each situation
    • Understand all the methods of organizing flies
    • Learn the best process to craft your fly box perfectly every time
    • See the exact boxes, flies, sizes, colors and quantities we use in our box
    • Learn how to plan for any situation on the water
    • Learn about insect lifecycles, seasonality, and planning for different bodies of water


    • Two, 50% off coupons for any flies or assortments on our site
    • 50% Off our Catch n’ Hatch Fly Boxes
    • An Downloadable PDF for offline Viewing
    • Downloadable spreadsheet of my fly boxes, fly by fly
    • Downloadable spreadsheet template for creating your fly box
    • Lifetime access to the course including future updates
    • One, 50% Off Coupon for Any of Our Other Courses
Craft Your Fly Box Course


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  • Learn Your Bugs – Catch More Fish
    • Become a Fly Selection Artisan
    • Get Forever Access, Including Content Updates
    • Get Three, 50% Off Coupons for Flies
    • Get a Free Bug Seine to Catch Insects
    • 8 Lessons | 109 Pages + Videos
    • Over 11,000 Students and Growing
Regular Price: $199.99
Lifetime Access: $99.50 (Save 50%)

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  • Top Trout Flies Course

    13 LESSONS | 100+ PAGES

    • Master the top 10 trout flies
    • Always have the right fly
    • Assemble the perfect fly box
    • Catch fish faster


    • $15 coupon for free flies
    • FREE Fly Fishing Basics Lesson
    • A PDF of the course for offline viewing (on request)
    • FREE Access to our fly selection mastery series
    • 50% Off our Online Entomology Course
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