Spruce Beetle

Tied by Peter Henry, pdhenry@aries.for.gov.bc.ca


Hook: Mustad 94845 or equivalent
Size: 14-18
Thread: Black 6/0
Body: Rear 3/5's natural deer body hair
Front 2/5's black deer body hair and tying thread

Tying instructions:

Start the thread and wrap to the bend. Stack some natural deer hair and tie in by the tips (butts facing away from the eye). Try to spread the hair evenly around the hook shank to prevent gaps in the body (usually occur underneath the hook). Move the thread forward 3/5's of the way to the eye. Pull the deer hair forward and fasten so that the posterior end of the body is plump and rounded. Trim the excess hair. Wrap the tying thread to the eye and back to cover all of the butts of the natural colour hair and to create a tapered thread body. Stack some black deer hair and tie in by the tips (butts facing away from the eye). Try to spread the black hair around the top half of the hook shank. Wrap the thread forward to the eye. Pull the black deer hair over and fasten with two or three wraps of tying thread just behind the eye. Pull 6-8 hairs from the bottom of the bundle down and to the rear to form legs (I used a bodkin to separate the hairs). Take two or three more wraps in the same place to secure the legs to the read and then whip finish and cement. Trim the legs to about 1/2 the hook shank in length (looks best with different length legs). Trim the butts from the front of the body by cutting them off at an angle (like an elk hair caddis).

Spruce Beetle Information

The spruce beetle (Dendroctonus rufipennis) is a pest of spruce trees throughout the range of spruce in North America. There are currently severe infestations in the southeast Yukon and southwest Alaska (particularly the Kenai Peninsula). The Yukon infestation covers more than 50,000 acres and the Alaskan infestation I believe is over 150,000 acres. This imitation was designed to immitate the adult spruce beetle.

The beetles feed on the cambium of spruce trees eventually killing the tree. The adult beetles fly in June (in BC, Yukon, Alaska) to mate and find a new host. Until recently I lived in the Yukon and I tied this fly to use for Rainbows, Grayling and Dolly Varden in the Yukon. When the mating flight occurs these beetles are probably the most numerous terrestrials available in the southeast Yukon.

Fish the fly with a dead drift.