4/03/2009

{Popillia japonica} Japanese Beetle


Through the dog days of summer in many parts of America a strange mylar-like terrestrial shows upon many trout streams. The Trout seem to just sit quietly in the shade of an overhanging tree or shrub and wait for these crunchy morsels to drop from the heavens above.
The stout Japanese beetle plops down every few minutes soon after an often violent slurp turns a quiet pool into a variable tsunami.

Most beetle patterns today are tied with a myriad of synthetics including mylars, foam bodies, and various rubber legs of all shapes and sizes. If your a tyer that likes to use natural materials like myself, that tends to shy away from synthetics, a simple selection of quills and peacock herl will be great mediums to achieve this pattern. It’s a very convincing imitation that is easy and as familiar as tying your favorite Catskill dry fly with very similar materials.


1) Build up a black dubbed body with a slight egg shape profile on a #16 or #18 straight eye dry fly hook. Tie in two peacock herls along with two black quills that have soaked for thirty minutes or more. Let them extend behind the hook.

2) Begin to wrap the peacock herl first. Then wrap the two quills individually around the body in a spiral not to cover up the herl but rather to segment it and reinforce it.

3) After both the peacock herl and the tag end of the quills are wrapped towards the head of the beetle fasten them down and pull them back with a few wraps of black thread. Clip the herl and quill legs so they extend just slightly behind the bend of the hook.Tie in some black hackle for a few turns near the head.


This pattern can be fished dry or just under the surface in fast water. Remember to be careful when striking fish that come up for beetle patterns, the strikes are often sudden and it’s easy to strike too hard and pop tippets.