Fly Fishing Tying – Terrific Terrestrial

February 4, 2009 by  

Our Outdoors
Nick Simonson

The Fourth is behind us, and summer is in full swing. If swarms of mosquitoes weren’t a sure sign, the vast numbers and array of other insects present during the day and at dusk is a definite reminder. The table is set for summer’s great binge, and every fly fisherman needs a few popular terrestrial patterns in his box. Here are three simple ties that will put fish on the line.

Measure of success

In summer, hordes of inchworms can descend from shoreline trees and bushes, providing fish like trout and bluegill with a readily-available snack.  When inchworms or caterpillars drop from the canopy, it can be some fast-and-furious fishing. 

Fly Fishin Tying - Easy Inchworm

Fly Fishin Tying - Easy Inchworm






Hook:  Dry fly hook size 8 to 14

Thread:  6/0 Brown

Body: Micro chenille, caddis olive color

This fly is easy as can be, and makes a good larva imitator of a variety of moths. Start by anchoring your thread on the shank of the hook and winding it back to the bend.  Tie in a piece of micro chenille, about three inches in length, so the body begins on the bend of the hook. Advance the thread to just behind the eye of the hook and let the bobbin hang.  Wrap the chenille edge-to-edge up to where the thread is hanging.  Tie off and trim the micro chenille. 

Create a thread head, whip finish and cement for posterity.  The fly should only take two or three minutes to complete and can work wonders for you during an inchworm or caterpillar hatch – simple and effective!  Vary the colors and the size of the chenille for the species of inchworms, armyworms or caterpillars near you! 

Hop to it! 

Summer means grasshoppers in the ditch, the field and the garden. All it takes is a breeze to drop a few on your favorite lake or stream’s near-shore waters. Tie up a few of these easy foam patterns, created by the late legendary Black Hills fly angler Al Campbell, to land those fish feeding on the unfortunates caught in the summer winds 

Fly Fishin Tying - Foam Hopper

Fly Fishin Tying - Foam Hopper



Hook:  Dry fly 2x Long

Thread: 6/0 Color to match body

Body:  Closed cell foam in hopper colors (tan, yellow, grey)

Wing:  Elk hair

Legs:  Sili Legs to match body or underbody

Underbody:  Dubbing or other material in hopper colors

Rib:  Copper wire

Start by cutting a strip of closed-cell foam that is significantly longer than the hook.  Then begin by tying the foam down to the hook shank, about 1/3 of the hook length back from the eye.  Tie it down until you reach the bend.  Then tie in a piece of copper wire. 

Using dubbing, peacock herl, chenille or other materials, create an underbody in a hopper color, and dub it up to where the foam was first tied in.  Fold the foam over, leaving a space between the foam and the back end of the dubbed area.  Tie the foam down where it was first tied in, 1/3 of the way back from the hook eye. 

Beetle bum

Found universally in summer, beetles make an easy anytime snack for bluegills patrolling the surface. Tie a few up to make for fast fishing on lazy summer afternoons

Fly Fishin Tying - Foam Beetle

Fly Fishin Tying - Foam Beetle



Hook: Dry Size 10-18

Thread: Black  6/0

Body: Black Foam

Legs: Pheasant Tail Fibers

Get started by cutting a piece of foam that is just a tad longer than the hook.  Anchor your thread on the hook and tie in the front of the foam about half of the way down the hook shank, so there is no foam pointing forward, only back.  Tie down more of the foam until you reach the hook bend. 

Once you have reached the hook bend, advance your thread back over the tied in foam and select three to six dark brown or black pheasant tail fibers.  Lay the fibers perpendicular over the hook, forming a cross of sorts.  Tie the fibers down using a figure eight wrap.  Once the fibers are secure, add a drop of cement to the tie in area to strengthen the fly. 

Advance the thread to one hook-eye length behind the eye of the hook.  Fold the foam over the legs and up to the eye of the hook, giving the foam beetle it’s body.  Make two or three wraps of thread behind the front section of foam, as pictured, making a small head.  Whip finish and cement, trimming the head of the fly if needed.  The head should hang over the hook eye, or just a little in front of it.  Take a pin and separate the fibers in the legs for a more natural appearance.

Try adding in dubbing or other body materials in yellows, greens or reds before tying in the legs, or replace the feather legs with rubber sili-legs.  The fly is yours now, make it look the way you want!

All three patterns will catch fish. Modify them to your tastes or the tastes of the fish. Here’s hoping your threads stay as tight as your lines will when you offer up these patterns to the fish you find…in our outdoors.




Tell us what you're thinking...
and oh, if you want a pic to show with your comment, go get a gravatar!

Human Verification: In order to verify that you are a human and not a spam bot, please enter the answer into the following box below based on the instructions contained in the graphic.