Categories: Dry Flies

Beetle Patterns for Trout – brown beetles hatch followed by green beetles

Beetle Patterns


The finished green beetle with a wing case of green raffia.

At this time of the year beetles represent a plentiful food supply for trout. They begin to hatch around October and continue to do so until late January and early February. The brown beetles are the first to begin hatching followed by green beetles. The later are particularly prevalent in the high country.


I remember a warm sunny day at Lake Coleridge in the Canterbury high country. We were eating lunch on a deserted beach next to the boat when my young son threw a handful of gravel into one of the few trees that overhang this lake. As the gravel fell from the tree the small stones were accompanied by a similar number of fat green beetles dislodged in the commotion. These beetles no doubt make up a sizable percentage of the trout’s food supply during late spring and early summer.

The beetles are an excellent fly to use in the Canterbury high country. I have seen enormous beetle hatches at places like Lake Coleridge and Lake Selfe where the air is thick with them. Often they can be seen washed up on the shoreline of a lake on the downwind side over summer. The brown beetles are the first to begin hatching followed by green beetles. I particularly like this fly because it is quick and easy to tie in several different variations.

It is also possible to fish a dry fly beetle on a lake using spinning gear if you use a plastic bubble float to cast out. You squeeze the plastic bubble while holding it under water which allows a little water to enter so providing the casting weight.

Beetles obviously don’t do a lot when stuck in the water’s surface film so the best way to fish them is to cast out to a likely spot and let them sit there. Repeated casting is more likely to scare fish away in a crystal clear lake.

A beetle can also be fished as a wet fly. In this case, a body tied from chenille in the appropriate colour is the way to go.

A deer hair body, a green beetle with foam body, and brown beetle with a foam body.

Various patterns have long been used to imitate beetle hatches such as Coch-y-bondhu and Loves Lure. You can also tie a very good beetle imitation using deer hair. The best modern option is a beetle made with soft foam. These are easy to tie and importantly never become water-logged and so will float all day.

Hook sizes should be between 8 and 14. You want a dry fly hook such as a Mustad 3904A or something close to it.

The first step is to under-bind your hook. Then tie is a length of Raffia. Olive green if it is to be a green beetle or brown if it is to be a brown specimen. Raffia has some shine to it and produces a very life-like result.

Live brown beetle.
Brown and green beetles have compact bodies.

This post was last modified on 27/05/2019 1:17 am

Leave a Comment

Recent Posts

New rules introduced to protect sea-run salmon fishery

New rules introduced to protect sea-run salmon fishery To help save New Zealand’s wild Chinook salmon species, a ground-breaking change…


Ugly River Brown Trout Fishing Paradise, Westland

Ugly River Trout Fishing Paradise By Simon Snow I am a wandering fisherman. I'm lucky enough to have a job…


How to Catch Whitebait – An Easy Beginner’s Guide with Allan Burgess

How to Catch Whitebait for Fun and a Feed In this article, we explain a bit about whitebaiting and offer…


Alvey Surfcasting Reels – reliable, almost indestructible – New Stealth 65S

Alvey Surfcasting Reels - Bruce Alvey talks about the latest reels in the Alvey range including the new Stealth 65S…


Collingwood Flats Kingfish – Saltwater Fly – Collingwood, Nelson NZ

Yellowtail Kingfish on Saltwater Fly - Fishing the Collingwood Flats, Golden Bay, Nelson, New Zealand Here are two great videos…


Southern Bluefin Tuna – Thunnus maccoyi – How to Catch – Video

Southern Bluefin Tuna - Thunnus maccoyi - How to Catch by Allan Burgess How to Catch Southern Bluefin Tuna The…


All Rights Reserved © 1999 - 2021

Read More