Top Ten terrestrial patterns

10 comments / Posted on / by

Photo by Louis Cahill

Photo by Louis Cahill

By Johnny Spillane

There’s nothing better than fishing terrestrials!

I know Kent was just gushing over his love for terrestrial fishing a few weeks back so we thought we would do a second installment of top ten flies. This week we are going to pick our top 10 favorite western terrestrial patterns. Ants, beetles, hoppers, cicadas, crickets you name it, if it crawls on the land and falls in the water, fish eat them. It didn’t seem fair to compare a hopper to an ant to a cicada so these are our favorites in no particular order. Let us know what you think and send us your favorites!

Carl’s Cicada


Cicada’s are one of the best “hatches” to fish when you hit it at the right. During the first few days of seeing them, you will find the biggest fish in the river up on the surface crushing them. Carl’s Cicada was developed on the Green River below flaming Gorge and has been putting fish in guides boats down there for a long time. It can also double as a big beetle pattern.

Timmy’s Hoppindicator


It’s a hopper, no wait, it’s an indicator. Hoppindicators are great for a few reasons. As the name implies, you can fish it alone as a hopper or you can drop a reasonable heavy nymph without sinking it. It’s got big old googly eyes and holds up even after catching a bunch of fish.

Power Ant


Its an ant with a little pizzazz. The hackle makes it float high and the rubber legs add something that fish have a hard time resisting. It’s big enough to work well as a searching pattern on larger rivers and on small creeks it will bring fish up from the bottom.

The Panty Dropper


This is my favorite hopper. It’s looks so realistic in the water and holds up well even after a few fish. This fly made it on our top ten list for all western patterns. It comes in various colors and sizes that make it possible to imitate whatever your local hoppers look like.

Parachute Ant


These guys work everywhere. From small spring creeks to the most highly fished tailwaters, fish eat ants. The Parachute ant floats well, has a realistic profile and can be tied as big as a size 10 and as small as a size 20. It is super easy to tie and holds up well to multiple fish.

Charlie Boy Hopper


If you want a hopper that floats high, is super easy to see and catches fish, this is the one for you. Tied with foam and deer hair, it sits high on the water and has a great profile. You can tie it in various colors and sizes to imitate you local insects.

Transparant Black Ant


This is a great pattern. Not a dry fly, the transparent ant is fished subsurface. During the summer days with high wind or big rain, tons of ants get flushed or blown in to the river and they drown. Try nymphing with ants and watch your catch rates go up!

Stalcup’s Cricket


This is a great little black cricket. The legs have little red tufts at the bottom of them that turn fish on. The foam and deer hair make the fly float well and the orange foam makes it easy to see. You can also fish it is a cicada, adding some versatility to the pattern.

Black Beetle


Not sure what this pattern is really called but as you can see in the picture, it is a black beetle with some buggy looking legs and a little orange yarn so you can see it. It floats well, has a little flash on the underside and most importantly catches fish.



Fish it as a cicada, beetle, hopper or you can strip it the same way you fish a muddler minnow. It has been around for almost 25 years for multiple reasons, its durable, it floats and most importantly it catches fish. Tie them in multiple sizes and colors and you can use it to imitate most large terrestrials.

Try these flies on your local waters and let us know how it goes! We know they work for us!

Tight lines,

Johnny Spillane

Gink & Gasoline
Sign Up For Our Weekly Newsletter!

Follow Gink & Gasoline on Facebook:

10 thoughts on “Top Ten terrestrial patterns

  1. What?! No Chubby? When it comes to terrestrials, I’m somewhat a freak as well. I love this time of year when the hoppers and beetles are hitting the water. Even seeing the smaller guys, like inchworms, gets me super excited. Just last week I had a great morning fishing a good ‘ol greenie weenie. The trout were absolutely going out of their way to smash them! Some of my personal favorties are the Chubby chernobyl, streambank hopper, Turks Tarantula, Psycho beetles, BIG beetles, rubber-legged stimi and parachute ants…. which pretty much sums up my entire terrestrial box, with the exception of a few of my own interpretations. Great list though!

  2. Hey, there seem to be a lot of Panty Dropper flies listed on the internet. Must say something about guys who fish. Anyway, is there a site that has tying instructions? Don’t think I need panty dropping instructions.

  3. Carls Cicada crushed em on the Green for me in June when the river was red hot. Couldnt keep em off! 40-50 fish days w/ this flies during peak cicada season. Thanks Carl!

  4. Carl Cicada!! Great fly but add Joe’s Hopper to the list as well Kaufman’s Stimi….Stimi could be dry or terrestrial but I think of stimis as a terrestrial. Cool post especially this time of year as I’ll be throwing many of these this week in Wyoming/Montana!

  5. The transparent ant is my secret weapon. I fish it under a hopper and it just works. I don’t even use dubbing, but a heavy thread to build up the bumps and coat it with clear nail polish. I use “Wet and Wild” nail polish – it’s no different than any other, is cheap and, well, it just sounds right.

  6. Pingback: First Casts 07.16.14 | Orvis News

  7. I so wish we had terrestrials of the same approximate dimensions of a Pterodactyl, here in the UK. As it is, we have to content ourselves with undernourished ants and emaciated Grasshoppers. I just adore the Idea of fishing a fly the same size as the trout we catch on the Upper Exe!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

Captcha loading...