NZ Beetles & How To Fish Them

Last week’s warm spell certainly stimulated the soil temperatures and when this happens in late spring the grass grub too begin to get rowdy. Brown beetle generally hatch out at dusk around our grassland streams and then feed throughout the night, offering our first real taste of terrestrial action for the summer. However it is when they return to the willows at daybreak to rest, bellies full, that these clumsy fliers end up on the water in surprising numbers.

The dusk fall of beetle is the most convenient event for anglers to fish however if you put in the effort, and set that alarm clock super early then the early bird will often get the, er, beetle. Throughout the day, plopping a beetle pattern into established foam lines or working upstream along high, grassy banks will produce the goods as fish look to take advantage of this highly nutritious event.

Even in the absence of rising fish, a beetle or small blowfly, which shares a similar prey image but offers a visible light / dark contrast for low angle light will bring noses to the top. A handy tactic when nothing seems to be moving. And don’t overlook the edgewaters, backwaters and eddies if you’re a later arrival in the AM. Drowned beetle will often become concentrated, and eaten in these areas long after the dawn fall... a submerged dry, or B&P soft hackle can work wonders in these scenarios.

Cochy Bondhu

My childhood favourite and one of the first dries I ever tied to hit the beetle falls North of Dunedin. Try clipping the underside of the hackle flat for a flush footprint in the surface or fish as is through joggly runs.

Foam Brown Beetle

Very buoyant with super sexy legs and hi viz sighter, this is an all-round favourite in the evening light.

True Brown Beetle

Low riding, this is my pick for dropping along the calmer, slower moving edges or around stillwaters. Have trouble seeing it in low light? Tie your True Beetle on a short dropper behind a hi viz BLT or similar.