Tying the Beetle Bug

By Mike Hogue

The Beetle Bug is a fly pattern which appears in, "Trout Flies" by Dave Hughes. This fly is an old Oregon pattern Dave used as a child. Dave's Dad discovered the pattern which is a simplified version of the Royal Coachman. The original Beetle Bug was made by Audrey Joy, the famous Northwest tier at Meir and Franks Department Store in Portland. Audrey's fly was basically, a Royal Coachman without the peacock herl and had a floss body. Dave's Dad could tie many more of these simplified flies which really helped in making enough flies for him and his 3 boys to fish with.

In the 1970's Bob Borden, owner of Hareline Dubbin heard about Dave's attachment to the Beetle Bug and sent several variations to Dave for his approval. One version of the fly was this: Moose fiber tail, fluorescent red body, white calf body hair and brown hackle. This version is the final version Dave liked and he used this as a sub for the original Beetle Bug and as a sub for the Royal Wulff.

When I first read," Trout Flies ", I became intrigued by this fly. During the fall of 1999 we had an over abundance of box elder bugs which plagued us in our home in Coralville. I noticed some fish in my local ponds eating these bugs so I decided to put the 2 ideas together and low and behold, I found a box elder bug fly! While I am sure this isn't what Dave Hughes and Bob Borden had in mind when they made the fly, I think you can see the benefit of thinking how to apply different fly styles for your own situtations.

Tying the Beetle Bug

Hook: Kamasan B401 size 12-18

Thread: 6/0 Black

Tail: Moose Body Fibers

Body: Hareline Dubbin Rabbit Dub, Fl Red #06

Wing: White Calf Body Hair

Hackle: Brown



Above: Fly and Photo by Mike Hogue

The hardest part of making a Wulff style of fly is getting the fly to balance correctly. If the proportions are not right, the fly will tend to lean to one side and fall over. I make the tail first and then I form the wings. This allows me to get the proportions correct.

Begin by making a tail equal to the hook shank. I cut the tag end of the tail fibers off in the middle of the hook shank, then I wrap the ends down against the hook shank.This allows me to butt the wing against the tail and forms a small "ramp' if you will that make the body easier to make and more uniform.

Next begin making the wing. Clip a section of calf body hair off the patch. Stack or finger straighten the hair clump by removing all of the odd fibers. When the tips are aligned, move the thread forward and tie the wing in with the tips extending over the eye of the hook. The wing should be equal to the length of the hook shank. Force the wing up with a little pressure from your fingers and then make wraps in front of the wing with your thread. Split the wing and divide it in half. Make figure 8 wraps and lock the wing down tight. Build up the underbody by making thread wraps behind the wing. Keep adding thread until the gap between the wing and the tail is filled in. Don't over do this, just use some thread for filler.

Dub the body up to the wing making a smooth taper. Tie in the hackle and wrap with 3 wraps behind the wing and 2 in front. Make the head and finish off. That's about it.

Email: Mike@eflytyer.com

For more Info Contact:

Mike Hogue / Badger Creek Fly Tying / 622 West Dryden Road, Freeville, NY 13068

Phone: 607-347-4946