We are lucky in Tasmania to have the many lakes that are surrounded by gum trees.
There are numerous insects that live in the trees, and on the right day they will be blown onto the water. Gum beetles are one delicacy for trout and they often cruise the shallow margins of a lake looking for these and will slurp them down with gusto. So when the breeze is warm the rod and the flies are put into the car and away I go.
I have been lucky this summer to be at the waters edge when the gum beetles (Chrysophtharta bimaculata) have started to fall. They are quite a clumsy insect only being able to fly short distances, so around the shore lines are most productive. However, on really windy days the beetles can be blown for miles and end up on the lake next door.
The best time to fish for trout feeding on these insects are when the fall first starts or the fall is light. In the past I have witnessed massive falls of beetles and there will be so many the water looks like a greenish carpet but the fish will not be feeding when the fall is like this. I think they like to see a beetle here and there so it is more of a selective thing.
Using an artificial for the gum beetle feeders I only use one fly as there is nothing like putting a single dry fly to a feeding fish. Over many years there have been various beetle patterns used, some quite complicated and others very simple — some of which work well. After working on various patterns over many years — simple is best for me. Fishing the beetle is quite simple find a feeding fish and place the fly in front of the fish and let it find the beetle.
Thread – Brown
Hook – Light gauged, short shanked size 10
GT Stripe – Small orange foam cylinder
Beetle Back – Olive Rainys sheet foam 1/8” thick
Underbody – light yellow seals fur or antron dubbing
1: Take brown thread along shank and slightly around the bend of the hook. Tie in the single foam cylinder.
2: Cut a strip off the foam sheet this needs to be about 12mm wide and 20mm long. Now cut one end of this into a pointed shape.
3: Place the pointed end of the foam strip onto the hook shank so the point is facing toward the hook eye take the thread and tie this down firmly tie the full foam point down going forward and then back to where the foam has been tied in.
4: With the yellow dubbing dub on a nice little fat under body it does not have to be done really neatly as a few fibres will give a leggy look. Take this along the shank and finish back from the eye a little.
5: Bring the foam back forward also finishing back from the eye a little. Tie the foam down firmly but not tightly as if it is too tight the thread will cut the foam. Cut away excess foam to form a head.
6: Pull the orange form cylinder over the top of the beetle back so it looks like a GT stripe. Tie down in the centre of the foam hard. This orange stripe has nothing to do with catching trout it’s there to make the fly easy to see as any beetle pattern of this type sits low in the water.
7: Whip finish varnish and cut thread away.