12/20/09

Basics of Fly Fishing: Trout Food Series - Top Tips on Beetles

1. The beetle (Coleoptera) is by far the most plentiful terrestrial insect in the park.
There are hundreds of different species of them that live in Great Smoky Mountains
National Park. There are 1, 500,000 species that live on earth. A fifth of them are
beetles. There are 800,000 species of insects on earth, more than all of the plants
and animals combined. Almost half of them are beetles. Here are the ones
known to
exist in the park. Click on "Coleoptera" on the menu on your left (third one down)
Remember, what you are seeing here is only groups of them. You have to click on
any one of them to see what is included.

2. As many beetles as there are, the basic shape of them all is similar. Their armour
sheath almost covers their body and provides the shape that defines a beetle. It is
oval and much larger than its front sections. That is because the word "Coleoptera"
means "sheath - wing". All beetles have an outer sheath that covers the wings they
use to fly. When they fly, their wings extend out from under the covering, or sheath.

3. The beetles we are referring to are terrestrial beetles. They have four stages of
life, or an egg, larva, pupa and the grown or adult beetle. The stage that is most apt
to get into the streams is the adult.

4. Most beetles that get into the water do so from being washed in by water from
heavy rain, or blown in the water from strong wind. That's the best time to focus on
fishing imitations of the beetle.

5. Most beetles are either black, brown, red or green.

6. Although beetles range in all sizes and grow throughout the year, most fly
patterns range from a hook size 12 down to 16. They are all similarly shaped.