How to Fish a Live Hellgrammite

WITH OVERSIZE MANDIBLES, hooks on the tail, and garish gill tufts studding its abdomen, the creek-loving hellgrammite looks like the last thing in the world you'd want to put in your mouth. Unless you were a smallmouth bass, a walleye, or a trout. The larval form of the dobsonfly, these so-called "conniption bugs" are a super bait if you know how to handle them. Literally. Pick them up by grasping around the hard collar, and hook from the bottom up through the collar or head. Hellgrammites need to be drifted with current, so use a tiny bit of split shot and cast into a fish's feeding lane. Watch the line, and don't let your bait do what it does naturally--which is grab a rock and hang on.