5 Tips for Fly Fishing the Spruce Moth Hatch

Pile of MAngler Moths
Tied by shop staff Ron Beck

-Tip #1 Pay Attention To Surrounding Trees

It’s easy to get caught up in the Spruce Moth hype, because when it’s on, it can be some of the best fly fishing of the year in Montana. But it needs to be said, if you’re fishing a section of river with no pine trees, there isn’t going to be a lot of Spruce Moths around. So if you’re buddy crushed fish on Rock Creek yesterday, you might not have the same success on the Lower Bitterroot River near Missoula. Make sure you have the proper habitat for Spruce Moths before tying one on.

-Tip #2 See a Spruce Moth, Tie One On

Because the Spruce Moth is not an aquatic emerger, it’s difficult to find a place where fish are lined up eating them Their sporadic appearance precludes that. However, trout are looking for them as soon as they start flying. The moment you see a Spruce Moth in the air in Montana, tie one on. The trout are looking for them, and take them opportunistically. So when the opportunity presents itself, use the Spruce Moth.

-Tip #3 Surface Film is Your Friend

Like most terrestrials, Spruce Moths are not natural floaters. There are days when a little less floatant is a very good thing. Get your imitation low in the water, just like a natural, and you’ll be surprised at how many trout will even eat your fully submerged. That little change will improve your fish count.

-Tip #4 The Struggle Is Real

If the Spruce Moth doesn’t completely drown when they hit the water, they struggle to get free. A half drowned Spruce Moth can flutter across the surface for a short distance. While we’re not advocating the 3 foot strip, we are saying let the trout tell you if the fly should be moving. A little movement will often provoke a strike, just like the natural.

-Tip #5 Stick With The Plan

Spruce Moths don’t enter the water willingly, and their water landings are sporadic. Just like hopper fishing, the Spruce Moth fishing can be sporadic. If you see the Spruce Moths flying, but you don’t get an immediate strike, don’t panic. Stick with the plan. The trout need food, and Spruce Moths are available when food sources are slim. If you fish it, they will come.

Additional Spruce Moth Resources