It is that time of the year when the little green inchworms start to show up in trees or on your clothes as you walk to the trout stream here in Western North Carolina. I noticed a few inchworms on my shirt around the farm in Mills River, NC when weed-eating and on the hike into a brook trout stream to fly fish a few weeks ago.
Most fly fisherman start to fish a greenie weenie fly when they see a few in the water or when they are very present around the water’s edge, but I have always started fishing them when I notice them on my clothes or on random place, the ground or tree limb, walking to the water—typically mid to late May.
Inchworms hatch as a larvae (what you see that is similar to a caterpillar inching as it moves) in the spring, spending time in the trees before they start to travel to the ground around late June or early July. Inchworms will lower themselves from the trees with silk at this time to burrow in the soil or leaves to form a cocoon before becoming a pupae (pre-moth stage). I have always thought these inchworms are drifting in trout streams from being washed in by rain, blown in by the wind, or just an unfortunate fall giving trout a decent snack on their way down to form into a pupae.
A green weenie is a great fly to fish, as well as an easy fly to tie. I will have a few in my box that are weighted and unweighted. I will use the weighted flies when I want to get the fly down in the water fast. The unweighted ones I will fish when I want the fly drifting just below the water’s surface or add some dry fly floatant to the fly so it floats on top.
Weighted Green Weenie
Unweighted Green Weenie
Give these flies a try if you have not already, and I’m sure you will be sure to keep a few in you fly box from now on. The big brown below took a weighted green weenie below a dry at the head of a run a few saturdays ago...reason enough to at least pick up a few from the fly shop.
Caught while fly fishing in Mills River, NC on a guided trip with DB bar D Outfitters