Fishing Spiders

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  • Colour Brownish-grey, with black and light brown markings
  • Size 7 mm to 26 mm, not including legs
  • Description Fishing spiders have two rows of eyes, as well as black and brown markings on their abdomens and striped legs. Fishing spiders are also one of the larger spiders native to Canada and could easily cover an adult human hand.
  • Notes Fishing spiders have water resistant legs that allows them to walk and glide on top of the water.

How to identify Fishing Spiders

Females grow between 15 and 26 mm in length, while males fall between 7 and 13 mm. Fishing spiders are typically brown and may display black and light-brown markings, with brown and black banded rings on the legs. Often confused with wolf spiders, fishing spiders can be distinguished by their large size and the position of their eyes, which are arranged in two horizontal rows of four. Some species display white abdominal markings that range in appearance from spots or speckles to W-shaped or chevron patterns.

Signs of an infestation

Fishing spiders commonly live in and around pools and can infiltrate homes. Possible signs of a fishing spider infestation include the moulted exoskeletons of the developing offspring, which are easily recognizable for their large size compared to other spider species. Living close to wooded areas increases the chances of seeing or otherwise encountering fishing spiders.

Fishing Spiders Removal

The removal of fishing spiders entails the cleaning of areas previously occupied by the pests. Getting rid of any woodpiles stacked around the house eliminates harbourage sites. Residents should also spend some time looking around basements and crawl spaces to remove the pests from the home. If a fishing spider infestation gets out of hand, call a local pest control service to combat the problem immediately.

How to prevent Fishing Spiders from invading

Limit the amount of standing water on the property around the home to reduce the availability of preferred food sources. As fishing spiders also enjoy the vegetation in and around standing bodies of water, limiting these ideal hiding places may result in a reduction of the arachnid population as well.

Habitat, Diet, and Life Cycle


Some species of fishing spiders can be found away from bodies of water. However, the majority of species seek water to find prey. As the pests typically move from site to site, they frequently encounter humans. Whether living in the wild or near manmade bodies of water, fishing spiders look to vegetation for cover. These arachnids can also be found under rocks or wood.


Fishing spiders are classified as generalist predators and use ambush tactics to catch many types of prey unaware. Using the water to feel vibrations much like other spiders use webs, these semi-aquatic arachnids grab any kind of reasonably sized prey within reach. Many types of fishing spiders feed on insects, while larger species may catch small fish. The fishing spider diet also consists of tadpoles and small frogs.

Life Cycle

While they may not use silk webbing to entrap prey, fishing spiders manufacture silk to facilitate the hatching of their eggs. Female fishing spiders produce egg sacs filled with their offspring, wrap the eggs in the silk, and carry them between their fangs until hatching begins. Once hatching starts, the mother spider creates a nest with webbing to provide protection for the next generation. Hatchlings resemble full-grown adults and shed their exoskeletons over time as their bodies grow.

Commonly Asked Questions

Why do I have fishing spiders?

Fishing spiders, also called dock or wharf spiders, like to live in waterfront properties near lakes, ponds, marshes, reservoirs, rivers, streams, and woods. Swimming pools, boathouses, and boats may also become infested.

Able to feed on prey almost five times their size, fishing spiders have been reported to eat aquatic insects, minnows, tadpoles, frogs, and even small fish. When weaving their own tent-like nests – or nursery webs – they like to build in tall grasses, between rocks, or under docks.

How worried should I be about fishing spiders?

For many people, the size and fierce appearance of a fishing spider alone are enough to cause alarm and stress. fishing spiders can also bite when trapped inside clothing, held, or sat or stepped on. Whilst not fatal, the bites are painful, similar to bee stings.

These pests also reproduce at an alarming rate, laying up to 1,000 eggs at a time, so it is important to act quickly if you suspect an infestation and to contact a professional pest control service to remove these pests effectively.

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