The SnoBall Beetle
by Paul Prentiss

Towards the end of July I wrote an article on Terrestrials for the Boulder Camera. There was a comment about knowing a fisherman/guide who used a foam beetle almost exclusively in RMNP. That someone happens to be Dennis Collier whose SnoBall is our Fly of the Month.

Dennis, a well known local fisherman and fly tier, has had a love affair with RMNP for many years. Much of his energy is focused on the Big Thompson. This area was the inspiration for the SnoBall Beetle. Ants and beetles form a significant portion of the food supply for the fish in the Big T. Dennis points out that "at 9000 feet of elevation, major aquatic insect hatches are sparse - this is terrestrial territory!"

The SnoBall derives its name from the deer hair 'sight indicator' which can easily be seen against its black body. The clients Dennis guides in RMNP love it because it is visible and easy to fish as a single or as an indicator on a two-fly rig.

You can modify the indicator and body colors to suit the area you intend to fish. According to Dennis, "white and fluorescent chartreuse as an indicator work best for me and I carry both."

When you tie this fly three points are worthy of note. First, use 2X heavy wire wet fly hooks which helps the fly land and remain in the upright position. The heavy wire is also more bend-resistant for those occasions when you catch the overhanging grasses on your cast and give it a good tug to free the fly. This will be a frequent experience if you're fishing the bug where it needs to be fished - tight to the bank! Second, put a drop of 'ZapAGap' super glue on the thread wraps to keep the foam from rolling on the hook shank. Last, strip the round rubber legs off the sheet in two (attached) strands at a time. Tie them directly to the side of the foam in this (still attached) configuration, then separate and trim upon completion. It's this subtle detail that results in the uniformly splayed legs.

 

SnoBall Beetle

Hook
: TMC 3769, sizes 10 to 16
Thread: Orange 3/0 monocord
Body: Black 1 mil foam laminated to 2 mil orange foam
Legs: Black small round rubber - strip from sheet in pairs of two attached
Indicator: Deer belly hair, tied butts first
Glue: Zap A Gap super glue - small bead from bend to eye to prevent foam from rolling


SnoBall Chernobyl