What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

Hellgrammites/Dobsonflies (Please Read)
January 10, 2010
Hellgrammites can live completely submerged in water. They have gills all along there segmented bodies. They live for a few years in their larval stage. Then they come to land to pupate. They stay in their cocoon throughout winter only coming out to mate. They only live for 7 days as Dobsonflies. They mate, lay eggs and then die. During these 7 days the are thought to not eat at all. In there larval stage they are attracted to light because they are nocturnal. Just thought that I would give you a little info. I have been using these as fishing bait for around 15 years now.
SW Virginia, Appalachian Mountains
Thanks, Zelik



Hi Zelik,
Thanks for your comment.  Recently a writer named Thomas requested permission to reproduce one of our Hellgrammite images for an article he is writing for an Angler’s magazine, and he has promised us that we may reproduce that text once the magazine is published this spring.  We are including a couple of Hellgrammite images from the past with your letter since you did not provide one.

Hellgrammites captured for bait

Hellgrammites captured for bait

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination
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3 Responses to Hellgrammites for Bait

  1. Kristy Jeffries says:

    Great info – thanks. We found a large female on our garage door – we live in Northern Virginia near DC. I remember a huge swarm of these on my grandparents farm in Monroe County, WV and also recall them when we fished at Smith Mt Lake, but this is the first one I’ve seen in the DC area. Our house backs to a Potomac River tributary with a dam but it does have moving water. Should we anticipate a large hatch of these coming out of the water this summer? Hoping not.
    Thanks again!

  2. Darrell says:

    What time of year can these be found in the meramac river in Missouri

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