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Alaskan Fly Patterns Terrestrial Flies

Brad Hanson's DENALI DUNG BEETLE
 

The variety of terrestrials found in Alaska is relatively limited compared to more temperature regions where insect life is much more diversified. Beetles are one of the most prolific of the insects (besides mosquitoes!) and trout, char, and grayling rarely pass up an opportunity to take this nutritious morsel.

This pattern is a floater and works well on stillwater as well as streams. The legs provide some enticing motion and the built-in indicator on top helps the angler keep track of the fly during the presentation or low light conditions.

1. Legs - Rubber leg material in white, black, yellow or orange.

2. Underbody - Peacock herl

3. Overbody - 5 mm closed cell foam.

4. Thread - black

5. Hook - #8 to #16 depending upon desired size. Much smaller versions can be tied to imitate ants.

6. Indicator - Glo bug yarn of desired color.

TYING:

  1. Cover the hook shank from the eye to the bend with thread to form a base.

  2. Cut a 3/8 inch wide strip of foam one inch in length and tie in just back of the hook eye with the excess extending rearward past the bend. Wrap down and thoroughly cover the foam along the shank from just behind the eye to where the bend starts.

  3. Tie in several strands of peacock herl and wrap thoroughly covering the hook shank. Bring the thread to a position just forward of the halfway point.

  4. Pull the foam forward stretching it slightly along the top of the shank, then make several firm wraps with the thread at the point chosen in step 3. Completion of this step will form a bulbous abdomen.

  5. With the thread remaining in position from the previous step, make another wrap with the thread while holding a 1 inch piece of rubber leg material along the side of where the abdomen and the thorax join. The thread should intersect the leg at the halfway point to form 2 legs. The thread tension should be sufficient to tie the legs in and form a V although excess tension draws the legs together to appear like 1 thick leg. Repeat the leg procedure for the opposite side.

  6. With the thread remaining in position from the previous step, hold a 1 inch piece of glo bug yarn on top of the fly then bring the thread across it at the halfway point and make a few wraps being mindful not to use excessive tension causing the legs to draw together. Pull the yarn upward and trim off closely to form a small round indicator on the top of the fly.

  7. Lift the remaining foam up and hold it out of the way while sparsely wrapping the thread forward over the herl body to a position just back of the eye. Pull the foam forward stretching it slightly along the top of the shank, then make several firm wraps with the thread at the point chosen behind the eye. Completion of this step forms a bulbous thorax that's slightly smaller than the abdomen. Stretch the remaining foam that's extending over the hook eye and trim close to the tie down point just back of the eye. Whip finish.

Field Notes: A beetle is a great pattern when fishing lakes from a boat, canoe, or float tube. Trout, grayling and char will concentrate in specific parts of a lake where food sources are most abundant, or perhaps where underwater springs create more favorable conditions in waters which may warm significantly during the summer months.

An effective way to locate these productive hot spots is to "troll" a foam beetle around the lake shore 10 to 20 feet from the edge of the bank or close to lilly pads. Trout will readily take this offering as it creates a very good skyline profile as well as a V wake to get more attention.

Once you have scouted the lake shore this way and identified the most productive areas, you can return to these locations year after year and they will always be the best producing locations on the lake.

Pattern by Brad Hanson
Photo by B. Hanson 1999

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