Fly Of The Week
Deer-hair Beetle
Deer-hair Beetle
By John van Vliet, USA

Previous Flies
Fly Tying Terms

Deer-hair Beetle

The opportunistic trout will rise to a beetle even in winter making beetle imitations year-round producers. One of the most effective terrestrial patterns is the Deer-hair Beetle. Tied with dyed deer hair over a body of peacock herl, this pattern is easy to tie, floats well and consistently catches fish all season long.


    Hooks:  Mustad 94840; 10 - 16.

    Thread:  Black 3/0.

    Shellback:  Black deer hair.

    Body:  Peacock herl.

Tying Instructions:

1. Start thread at the middle of hook shank.

2. Snip a small bundle of deer hair, about the diameter of a pencil.

3. Hold deer hair by tips, and comb out short underfur with dubbing needle.

4. Tie in butt end of deer hair at middle of hook shank, with tips facing back. Don't be concerned if butts flare slightly; wind thread over them to secure.

5. Trim any excess butts, then wind thread back to hook bend.

6. Tie in two or three strands of herl and trim butt ends. Wind thread forward to 1/8 inch behind eye.

7. Wrap herl forward around shank and secure with several turns of thread. Trim excess herl.

8. Bring tips of deer hair forward over herl and tie in just behind eye to form shellback. Make several firm wraps with thread, and whip-finish.

9. Trim off excess tips to form head of beetle.

10. Snip one or two strands from each side of rear of body to form legs. Apply head cement.

Fishing the Deer-hair Beetle:

Cast a terrestrial along the bank or shoreline. Twitch it occassionally to make it look like a struggling insect. This will draw fish from farther away than will a fly drifting motionless.

Success with terrestrial imitations isn't limited to trout fishing. Panfish and bass will readily take a hopper or cricket pattern twitched on the surface of a lake or farm pond. ~ John Van Vleit

Credits: From John Van Vliet's The Art of Fly Tying published by Cowles Creative Publishing. We sincerely thank them for use permission.

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