This week’s Throw Back Thursday Fly is the Beetle Bug Coachman.
I was asked by a friend recently to tie up a few of these flies for his local river. It’s an old fly pattern he had seen recently on my RiverKeeper Flies website. Turns out, it was on the cover of this book, John Shewey’s Favorite Flies for Oregon (2021)
Here is a closeup of the fly.
Shewey writes that John Dose, a well-known fly tyer from the Eugene, OR area, created the fly in the 1920s. The fly was tied in a hair-wing style. Later, Bob Bordon created a variation you see above. While he utilized calf body hair for the wing, I’ve tied the fly with calf tail. Some of you may recognize the Borden name as he is the one who started the wholesale Hareline Dubbin company.
His original Beetle Bug Coachman were tied with bucktail for the tail and wings.
He further writes that Audrey Joy popularized the fly as she tied many of them on her treadle-style vise in the sporting goods department at Meier & Frank in Portland, OR. She was a staple in the store for over twenty years spanning portions of the 1940s through 1960s.
The following image shows the Beetle Bug Palmer, a variation from Oregonian Dave Hughes where he created a better floating fly.
You can read more about the fly in John’s book.