Terrestrials: Hoppers, Ants and Beetles – Trout Food Items

This post was last updated on January 14th, 2016 at 11:43 pm

Terrestrials- Hoppers, Ants and Beetles

I am not sure why brown trout, and trout in general love terrestrials (insects that are not spending part of their life cycle in the water) so much. I suppose it could be that they only get to eat them part of the year. The rest of the year they are stuck eating mayfly and stonefly nymphs under the surface of the water. Sort of a summertime treat for the trout.

grasshopper for brown trout fishing
Grasshopper  Samantha Henneke photo



Grasshoppers are another favorite food for trout. They provide a pretty significant meal for a fish. It would be equivalent to us eating chicken wings I suppose. They seem to be difficult for trout to resist. There are times in the summer where grass hoppers are the only thing fish want. It is surely worth the calories they expend to come off the bottom of the river to eat a hopper. These are right near the top of a trouts list of favorite foods. Fishing in a western meadow creek in the summer, you will find out quickly just how much the trout love hoppers. There seems to be a lot more grass hoppers in the western states than in the mid-west. Some of the largest trout I have ever seen caught, were in the middle of the day on foam hopper patterns.


Arguably the trouts favorite food is the ant. Yep just the little guys, there’s something about them that trout really love. I have had days on the river where I could not figure out what the trout were eating. I could see the fish were eating something on the surface but I had no idea what. There were several species of mayflies, caddis, and other flies on the water. After a few hours of grueling pain, I finally caught a fish on a small nymph. I pumped its stomach and finally had the “ahha” moment. Tied on a size 12 or 14 black ant on and crushed big fish the rest of the day.

brown trout eat ants
Ants are a brown trouts Favorite food!

Photo By Jason bolonski


Brown trout do eat beetles! There have been plenty of fish I caught on rather large foam beetle patterns. Its one of those types of flies, where you don’t need to keep a lot of them in your box, but you should have some. I pumped a fishes stomach last summer and it was totally full of the Asian lady beetles. You know the ones, the stinky little red ones that cluster all over in some areas. The nice thing about beetle fly patterns is they are easy to tie, and they are made of foam so they always float good. There are more species of beetles than any other insect, so don’t miss out on the beetle bite! Tie some up today and keep them for an ace in the hole on the river.

beetles are a great food for brown trout
Beetles are a great food source for trout in the summer.