Manuka (Green) Beetle Flies For Summer

It’s summer and the Manuka Beetle are in full swing around our highcountry rivers and lakes, and should be a feature of your fly box from here on in.


Generally smaller than the Brown Beetle of late spring, Manuka Beetle are a shiny, bright green with shades of blue on their back and a dark lengthwise line down the centre of the shell. While size can vary, they’re most commonly found around 9mm, represented your typical size 16.

Living in grass and vegetation, the Green Beetle is well distributed across New Zealand, and their preference to feed on the roots and vegetation of manuka trees give them their title of Manuka Beetle.

More subtle than a cicada or blowfly, the Manuka Beetle is the perfect enticement for pressured waters or wary trout. Due to their size and propensity to ride low in the surface, beetle patterns can often be hard to see, particularly in rougher water.

Green beetle fly fishing nz


A well-used trick is to fish your beetle pattern behind a high vis dry, say a parachute in spooky water or PMX style terrestrial in heavier, pocket water. If your sighter fly disappears then set, likewise, if the fish rises within a foot or so of your high vis, chances are he has your beetle.

Foam Manuka Beetle from the Manic Fly Collection

The Foam Manuka Beetle has a subtle silhouette and an orange, high viz post and is perfect for the softer edge waters where fish can often examine your fly a little closer.

True Manuka Beetle | Manic Fly Collection

For my money however, presenting a True Green Beetle pattern on a long, light leader directly to a sighted trout, and watching him pluck it from the surface cannot be beat.

Dry fly success with a manuka beetle from the Manic Fly Collection

So be aware of what’s drifting down the flow this summer and have a few Manuka Beetle flies on hand.


Chris Dore is a battle tested fly fishing guide with over 15 years of professional guiding experience, battling the demanding, ever changing conditions that our New Zealand rivers throw at us.

In 2006 Chris became one of the first New Zealanders to successfully pass the internationally recognised Federation of Fly Fishers Certified Casting Instructors examination and has since taught many thousands of anglers to up their skillset.

For more in person and on river fly fishing advice and upskilling why not book Chris for a day or three?