Woolly Bugger -

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Rainbow and Brown Trout Fishing Flies
Adult DragonflyBuckhorn SpecialHare's EarChernobyl Ant
Clouser MinnowDamselFlyDragonfly NymphCaddis Fly
Madam XParachute AdamsStimulatorWet Dry Fly
Woolly BuggerMayFlyMouseHornberg

     The woolly bugger fly is used around the world and works well when fly fishing for trout. The dark green versions could imitate dragonfly nymphs swimming under water darting from place to place.  

Fly Casting

     In Argentina and Chile we like to use the woolly bugger when casting to the edges of a lakeshore. We start from drifting possession and strip the fly out into the deep water. woolly bugger fly patternWhen you cast into the shallow water just beyond the drop off, it can catch the attention of a big trout that has been laying in wait for his prey.

Stripping the Fly

     When the fly hits the water, especially being weighted, the fish picks up on the sound and begins to look for what fell into the water. As you begin the strip the fish gets aligned with the sound and begins to look for the prey. If the fish sees the fly directly from the back as the fly is swimming out into the lake he will rush up to get it generally with his mouth open just before he strikes.

     It is advantageous to have the fish coming behind the fly, as it is difficult for the trout to identify just what is swimming away. To have this happen it is necessary to begin the strip as soon as the fly hits the water, not letting it sink but a few inches under the surface. The strip should be fast and jerky or with an abrupt pause in order to get the fly to pulsate or to make the tail fan out and in. However, trout can come from any place, deep down or under cut banks or even under your boat. Trout caught with Woolly BuggerWhen this occurs, sometimes the fish will get a good look at the fly swimming from the side view and he might swim past the fly or swim up on it and shy away.

     It is always best to keep up a steady strip no matter what the fish does. You can't convince every fish, but you will find that your best presentations generally will convince some.     

Sizes and Colors

     We like to use this fly pattern tied to a long hook making it look longer. Weighting the fly is important as you need to have the fly under water at once when completing the cast otherwise you are continually waiting for the fly to sink and besides when non-weighted, flies do not swim as well as the weighted ones. The sizes that we like to use are tied on no. 2, 4 and 6 hooks. The best all around colors seem to be the dark olives, blacks and browns in that order. Perhaps the light at the time of day might give the fly pattern a certain appeal. So really you should have different colors on hand and different sizes.


     Bring to Argentina/Chile a half dozen of each color and size. I try to stay away from shine on these flies. It is a good idea to make them look as drab as possible. Many fly fishermen are using the bead head versions and it has been effective, but the shine has turned fish away as well as attracted them. Lead heads are being used to sink the fly but it is hard to cast and you find yourself ducking a lot. I think the old way of wrapping lead wire around the hook is the best and most balanced, making the casting easier. They do not have to be heavily weighted. 

     The woolly bugger is the fly that is probably used the most when you are in a hurry to find out if there are any hungry big fish around to be caught. I had as many as five trout try to get this fly at the same time.  Disappointingly they all bumped into one another trying to get the fly and I didn't catch one of them.  This showed me that this fly pattern is an attractive and appealing imitation meal to the trout.

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