The Woolly Bugger fishing fly pattern has to be one of the most versatile and productive flies around. The marabou tail and in most cases a palmered body suggest succulent small juvenile bait fish, insect larva, tadpoles or leeches that trout, bass and steelhead devour
WOOLLY BUGGER STREAMER FLY PATTERN. Hook size 10 4 2 - $US each
BLACK BEADED CRYSTAL WOOLLY BUGGER STREAMERS
The Crystal Woolly Bugger has a bead head to add weight to get the fly down to the depths where the fish are feeding. I have successfully used beadhead crystal woolly buggers to catch bass, steelhead, trout and salmon. I have found they work equally well in streams and lakes. I have even caught surf perch on a crystal bugger. They are an attractor streamer fly pattern. They don't imitate anything specific but it is the wiggle of the marabou in the tail and flash when wet that helps simulate real leeches and small bait fish.
Now when it comes to salmon and steelhead crystal woolly buggers can look like the krill, shrimp and small squid that they feast on in the ocean. Instinct makes them attack the flies when they come across something that resembles them in rivers. If you are fly fishing for steelhead it is a deadly pattern at all times of the year. One of my customers reported that the it is especially good for late summer fishing in the upper Columbia River tributaries. The best tactic was to fish this fly deep with a sinking tip line.
This is fly fisherman Russell Blessing, the designer of the original Woolly Bugger Fly Pattern
Last year I was fishing Lake Ontario. I just tied on a black woolly bugger and cast it out on a sinking line as far as I could. The trick then was to mend the line into the waves so that it would sink. Then I slowly retrieved the woolly bugger. I was getting so many hook ups that I soon ran out of black woolly buggers because of damage due to sharp fish teeth. I tried the same successful technique with an olive and then white woolly bugger with the same result. I love these flies for late season big stillwater streamer fishing. - Craig Wilson, Montreal, Canada
I fish the water at Carriage Hill in Ohio. It is stocked with Green and Long Ear Bluegills. Your black beaded crystal Woolly Bugger works every time. They seem to love the flash and sparkle of the reflected light. Jeff Kirby
I catch catfish on Woolly Buggers; what a nice fight on a fly rod! Cast into a shallow muddy bottom lake and bounce the fly across the bottom causing small plumes of mud. Great for carp also! Fly fishing for carp has become quite popular here in Atlanta on the Chattahoochee river. Who doesn't want to catch a five plus pound fish on a fly rod?! and it's even more challenging from a kayak. A nice few pound catfish on a four or five weight rod is quite an experience also! By Holland Dutch Earle
How to fish with Woolly Buggers;- Strip them in waters where it will promote a strike from a territory being protected or large fish seeking a good need for protein. I like fishing to bank then bringing them into moving waters as well as deep pools......fished with erratic movements can bring a massive strike and have the angler hooked for life. By Michael Bank, MBA
If I could have only one fly in my favorite waters of South Puget Sound, it would be the Wooly Bugger. The cutthroat and salmon often devour if as soon as it lands. I vary the stripping with a 1-2 second pause. If I don't get a strike, I switch to a bead headed or weighted WB. Pausing the heavier fly makes the imitation appear injured and usually entices a strike. If I'm in a boat, I like casting to shore and pull it fast for the first 10 feet. If the fish are there the cutts chase it like a cat pouncing on a mouse. By Ed Sauriol
How to fish with Woolly Buggers;- I've had success on a dead drift through a deep hole and past a nice undercut but also on the upswing at the end of a quartering-across cast. I've had hits on the swing, the dead drift, and while I've stripped it back. It's hard to fish it wrong: it can imitate a stonefly, hellegramit, even crayfish and small sculpins. By Steven Ranney
Woolly Buggers are not only for beginners Old fishermen like me lose them too.... Today's chore for the day (make 3 new buggers) By Capt Frank Bourgeois