Beetle Fly Patterns

Beetle flies
Various Beetle Fly Patterns

On some occasions while there is no noticeable hatch of mayflies or caddis, beetles can be on the trout menu in a big way. Since beetles are the most numerous species of insect on this planet, you will need a couple examples of them in your fly box. I have caught trout in the middle of summer that had so many beetles crammed into their stomachs that the fishes belly was hard to the touch.

Simple Beetle Pattern

A simple example of a beetle fly pattern

As you can see, this pattern is very simple to replicate. It is made up of only three materials:

  • Foam
  • Hackle
  • Thread
  1. Cut your foam in the desired shape leaving enough excess material to tie it onto your hook and attach it to the very back of the hook.
  2. Palmer or wrap the hackle around the frontal portion of the hook.
  3. Fold the foam upper over the hackle and tie it off on the front.

You can obviously tie these in any color depending on the coloration of the beetles you are seeing in your area. These work pretty good tied with red or orange foam to simulate the ladybug and Asian beetles that seem to be found everywhere.

Beetle fly with iridescent foam

Iridescent Foam Beetle

This pattern is much more complex than the previous one requiring a few more materials.  The bottom of this particular fly also has some copper colored dubbing that gives it some nice flash.

View of the iridescent foam beetle from below
This fly not only works to replicate beetles, but could easily pass for a small hopper pattern as well.

Materials List

  • Your choice of hook size
  • Copper dubbing
  • Brown saddle or hackle
  • Foam
  • Rubber legs
  • Brown thread

The steps to tie this fly 

  1. Cutting your foam to the desired shape and size and tying it the the back of the hook.
  2. Wrapping on your color choice of dubbing material.
  3. Tie the foam in place at the head of the fly.
  4. Place the 2 sets of rubber legs in the center of the fly and tie them in. It can sometimes take a little work to get the legs to sit right, too much pressure with the thread and the won’t spread out, too little and they could slide out after your first fish.
  5. Finally, tie 2-3 wraps of saddle hackle in the same spot as the legs were attached.
  6. Tie in the optional colorful foam indicator on the top.

 Sinking Beetle Fly


Sinking Beadhead Beetle
Sinking Beadhead Beetle

This great beetle is tied with a peacock hurl body to give it a sparkly appearance, and a layer of deer hair over the top of the foam to add a little more shine and realism. This beetle fly also has lead wire wrapped on the hook for extra weight.

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