Quick Tie: The Foam Beetle
Posted on 16 July 2020
As we enter the heat of terrestrial season, I thought I’d share a recipe and some tips for tying the foam beetle. It’s a simple and effective terrestrial pattern that is extremely versatile. In smaller sizes, it can imitate small beetles and large ants, and in larger sizes it can imitate beetles and any other unfortunate insect that may fall in the creek. I find myself using a size 16 in many situations on the Cumberland Valley spring creeks. It’s my go to early summer terrestrial pattern and works well from mid-June through September. From my experience, the most effective time to fish the pattern is near overhanging brush on a relatively sunny and windy day. It is also a great prospecting pattern for brook trout or fish holding closer to the bank.
Though tying this pattern is relatively simple, there are many options in regard to how to use the materials that can give it a lot of variability. There are many hooks that will be effective for beetles, but make sure to use a down eye hook. When you tie in the foam towards the head of the fly, it’ll push on the eye of the hook a bit, so it will be easier to thread your hook if the eye is turned down. Experiment with hook sizes and lengths to achieve a size that matches what you see locally. For the shell, the standard color foam to use is black, but other colors will be effective as well. I use 3mm foam for a size 14 hook as a starting point but have had success with a number of different foam thicknesses on various hook sizes. You can cut the foam wide or narrow to get different profiles, but my advice is to tie in the foam a little large, and trim it once you can see it on the fly before folding it over towards the head of the fly. A slight taper will give the fly a nice look. The body utilizes a natural peacock herl, but once again, experiment with different colors. You could even substitute the peacock altogether with dubbing or ostrich herl as well. You can tie in legs if you want a more attractor style beetle, and rubber legs, hackle fibers, or polar/crystal flash can be used. For the sighter post, I like using any fluorescent antron, and sometimes combine two colors. I think it is critical to give yourself some sort of hi vis post, as any black dry fly can be very hard to see under many lighting scenarios on the stream.
This wild spring creek rainbow was caught close to the bank on a foam beetle this summer.
Hook: Any down eye dry fly hook, size 12-16. I used Tiemco 5212 size 14 in the picture.
Thread: Black 6/0 Uni
Body: Peacock Herl Natural
Shell: Black Foam 3mm
Post: Any Fluorescent Antron Yarn (Pink, Yellow, Chartreuse, etc.)
Thanks for reading! Feel free to contact me with any questions!
TCO Boiling Springs