Product Reviews

Wind River Entomology Kit
by Al Campbell

One of the most effective yet least used tools for matching the hatch is something called an entomology kit. I'm not sure why this tool gets so little use, but I am sure it could improve the catch rate of anyone who used it to see what insects are active in the water. The complex task of guessing what fly would be effective, can be reduced to simply matching the contents of a net with the right fly. It works very well. Well, at least it works for those who are willing to try it.

Those pictures of aquatic nymphs and larvae you see in magazines and books almost always start with an entomology kit that is used to capture the critters for identification. Once the insects are captured, they can be photographed, measured, compared to the contents of a fly box and then released or preserved for future observation. It only takes the right tools and the willingness to use them. You simply hold the net in the water and wait for insects to drift into it, or you have someone stir the bottom directly upstream from the net. Then all you have to do is observe the contents of the net and match them to flies in your box.

A company called Wind River manufactures one of the easiest to use, and best built entomology kits I have had the pleasure to use. It comes in a kit bag stuffed with the following:

    1 - nylon insect net with break-down poles
    1 - thermometer
    1 - plastic dish with lid to hold insects for observation
    1 - magnifying glass
    1 - book on insect identification (nice line drawings of insects too)
    3 - bottles for insect storage
    1 - tweezers for insect capture to the observation dish or storage bottles
The center of the net has a white "bulls eye" to make insect observation and photography easier. If properly cared for, the kit should last a lifetime, and the information it reveals to its user should improve the hatch-matching abilities of that user for a lifetime.

At a planned cost of roughly $60 retail, it seems a bit steep in price, but I have seen others similar to this one that cost over $100. You could make your own kit and probably save a few bucks, or you could buy the parts individually, but that would probably cost you more than the kit. Either way, your fishing will improve when you start observing what is in the water that you can't see on the surface. It sure beats guessing what the fish are eating, and the price of the kit will be quickly balanced out by the instant information you'll be getting on the stream.

If you are a retailer, you can obtain this kit by contacting Wind River at:

Wind River
(company contact person is: Jim Siegle -
5610 County Road 1
Erie, CO 80516
Ph: (303) 652-0648
Fax: (303) 652-0653

Or you can visit them on the web at If you are a consumer and your favorite fly shop doesn't plan to sell this kit, ask them to get one for you. Your catch rate will improve if you do. ~ Al Campbell

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