How To Use a Woolly Bugger when Fly Fishing

The wooly bugger is an artificial fly that is considered one of the top flies to use when catching game fish in salt water and fresh water. The wooly bugger is a steamer or a wet fly that swims below that water’s surface. It is a must-have in any fly box. It can be used in any kind of location where game fish can be found – in tidal flats, streams, rivers, lakes and ponds. The wooly bugger can be made to imitate many different kinds of prey in different colors for a variety of game fishes. It can be made to resemble baitfish, leech, clamworms, shrimp, small crabs, crayfish or even large nymphs. Below are tips on how to use a wooly bugger when fly fishing.

  • Attach the wooly bugger to your line and cast off. Game fish are very attracted to their prey that moves. Allow the wooly bugger to dead drift then tug your line to jerk the wooly bugger and make it move. Use different methods to lure the game fish. Allow the wooly bugger to sink, float, dart and creep under the water to attract different fishes like the northern pike, carp, trout, bluegill and steelhead salmon.
  • Add a bead or a cone head to your wooly bugger to make it sink deeper into the water. Allow the wooly bugger to reach the bottom of the stream, lake or river before jerking it up then allowing it to sink again imitating the movements of a yo-yo.
  • Allow the wooly bugger to drift by casting upstream and across the current and use slow stop and go motion to lure the fish. To the fish the wooly bugger will look like a prey that is breathing and resting before moving on the water that can make the fish go after it. Generally speaking, it is best if the fish will come and grab the wooly bugger from behind as the fish will already have its mouth open to catch its prey, so casting has to be perfect. This is not always the case though since the game fish can come from anywhere as it lies in wait of its tasty prey.
  • Make the wooly bugger more attractive to the game fish by adding a brightly colored marabou feather or bead that will sparkle in the water. The sparkle of the bright and shiny bead or the flashes of color will make the lure more visible and attractive to a hungry fish.
  • Learn how small fishes react when they reach a drop off like a short waterfall and imitate their movements. Allow the wooly bugger to drift then just a jerking action and quick retrieve to imitate how the small fishes react to the shock of a steep landing.
  • Check out the different sizes and colors of the wooly bugger. These are designed to target a particular type of game fish. Dark green ones are especially attractive to trout as these resemble dragonflies that are swimming beneath the surface the of the water.

The wooly bugger is designed for larger game fish. It should be tied to number two to number fourteen long and extra long hooks. Brass or tungsten beads, dumbbell eyes and cones are used as weights for wooly buggers. Make sure that you have different types of wooly buggers in your fly box. Some of the most favored colors of wooly buggers in order of their importance are dark olives, blacks and browns.


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