The saying is, ‘everything is bigger in Alaska’. This also includes bugs. For example, the giant water bug (lethocerus americanus) found in Southeastern Alaska can grow up to 2.5 inches in length. That’s a big bug.
From the Arctic tundra to the Southeastern panhandle, aquatic insects exist throughout Alaskan waters and play a large role in the ecosystem. As fly anglers, it’s prudent for us to learn about the various types of insects and their life cycle. For many of us, bugs are a big part of our fishing endeavors, almost as important as the fish themselves. If we want to become better anglers, it’s important to understand what bugs are out there, the stages of their life and the role they play. This way we can have a better appreciation for the diversity of the ecosystem and the fish we seek. As we better understand the entomology, we can more easily identify the right fly patterns to fish and when to fish them. Understanding ecology, bug lifecycles and timing (wherever you are), will only make you a better fly angler.
John Hudson, Katherine Hocker, and Robert H. Armstrong, over a two year period collected information and images for the book, Aquatic Insects in Alaska. Their book is filled with lots of information from species, to different life stages and the regions where you can find them in Alaska. It’s neatly wrapped in 140 pages and a great resource for fly tying enthusiasts.
Forestflies, golden stoneflies, salmonflies, snowflies, stripetail stoneflies, springfly stoneflies, willowflies…that’s a list of just the stonefly varieties in this book.
If you fish in Alaska, you should get this book. You can get a full color PDF version of the book from Robert (Bob) Armstrong’s, Bob Armstrong’s Nature Alaska, website here. Bob’s site is full of bug information, videos, and images in addition to a variety of books about nature in Alaska. If you prefer the actual book, you can order yourself a copy from Mossy’s Fly Shop in Anchorage, Alaska.
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