Thursday, January 13, 2011

Fishing the Famous Wooly Bugger

 Probably the most famous of all flies in fly fishing is the Wooly Bugger. Whether you fish this fly for warm water species or cold water species you should be successful. Crappie, bass, bluegills, strips, spots, smallmouth, and of course trout hit this fly with vigor. I receive a number of fishing publications each month which give me a lot of great information on fishing. I recently read a great article on the Bugger in one of the publications and I thought I would share it with you guys. As always I learn something I didn’t know about fishing the Wooly Bugger, and I hope you pick up some information you can use as well.

How to Use a Wooly Bugger When Fly Fishing

Fly fishermen tend to agree that the Wooly Bugger lure is one of the best for catching the big ones. The Wooly Bugger is a big lure, and there are a variety of ways it can be cast and presented to the fish.


Dead drift the bugger by adding a few jerking actions. Use the bugger for larger fish like lake trout and steelhead salmon. Arctic char, bluegill, northern pike, and even carp have found this lure hard to resist. However you chose to fish this lure, it can't be fished wrong. Crawling, creeping, darting, floating, and sinking are just some of the ways you can present the wooly bugger.

Weigh down the Wooly Bugger by using either a split-shot, a bead, or a cone head on the front of the shank of your rod to produce a bouncing action. When the lures land on the bottom of the lake, use a stop-and-go action. This also is called a rise-and-fall or yo-yo action.

Produce a "breathing" action to the lure by using a slow stop-and-go motion on the retrieve. Place a few BBs ahead of the lure to really turn the fish on. When casting with this method, cast upstream and across the current.

Produce a swimming action, focusing on the marabou on the tail of the Wooly Bugger. This helps to imitate swimming bait such as larva, tadpoles, or leeches to hungry fish. Put a bit of glimmer on the lure to make sure the fish see the bait.

Imitate smaller fish when the water is low and near a steep drop off such as a waterfall. This action replicates the movement of a little fish that has been
stunned by a steep landing. Cast and let the lure drift. Use a quick jerking action followed by a quick retrieve.

Devise different actions according to the water conditions. Slow action is recommended on small creeks or rivers. Faster action is recommended on lakes.


Tyler Legg said...

Can't go wrong with a Bugger! Excellent write up!

Jay said...

You're right, there really isn't a wrong way to fish a woolly bugger. The most effective method for me has been using a split shot about 6-8" ahead of the bugger to get it down deep and a fairly slow erratic retrieve. A lot of stops and starts. I've had good success on trout and bass this way. I also tie some real big buggers, size 2 for bass, and think they are a great hellgrammite pattern.

Mark Kautz said...

Hi Bill. All true except when the fish turn their noses up at it like yesterday. Can fish turn their nose up?


Bill Trussell said...

Thanks Tyler for the comment, I agree it is an awesome fly.

Bill Trussell said...

I have started using the tungsten head for all my buggers, I tend to get a faster sink rate with this type of head. I will try the shot up on the line, I can see where that would alter the retrieve. Thanks for the comment

Bill Trussell said...

I have been there on those days, and I have learned to sit back and just take in the surroundings. Thanks for the comment

Dustin's Fly Box said...

Still one of my favorite flies to fish!

Great blog! I just started following!

Bill Trussell said...

Great to have you as a follower. I just checked out your blog and really impressed with your flies. I am joining up with your group to see some more awesome flies ties. Thanks for the commnet and compliment.