Oh Bugger

Fall bugger fly pattern tying

Tying a fall streamer pattern.

It’s no secret that fall in Montana can offer up some of the best fishing of the year. The days are shorter, the nights longer, and the brown trout have two things on their minds: spawning, and bulking up for the long winter ahead. Both these factors make for active, aggressive fish that will take a chance at a larger meal if the opportunity presents itself. Enter the woolly bugger. Although this pattern has been around forever, it continues to be a favorite of new and seasoned anglers alike. A brown and yellow variation is a fall staple. Whether you like to strip it on a sinking line or dead-drift it under an indicator, big fish will eat this fly.

Hook: TMC 5263 #2-6
Eyes: Tungsten Predator Eyes, small
Thread: 6/0 brown
Rib: Medium red wire
Tail: Brown and yellow strung marabou
Body: Yellow UV Ice Dubbing
Hackle: Grizzly-variant Schlappen, brown

1. Start the thread behind the eye of the hook and create a small thread base. Place a small drop of super glue on the hook shank and secure the dumbbell eyes with additional thread wraps.

2. Select the tips from a brown and a yellow marabou feather. Stack the two, and tie them in at the bend so they extend one hook-length beyond the bend.

3. Take a six-inch piece of wire and tie it in so it dangles off the back of the hook. Then create a five-inch long dubbing loop and fill it sparsely with the ice dubbing. Spin the loop tight and wrap the dubbing noodle forward all the way to the tungsten eyes to create a smooth, skinny underbody. Tie it off and trim the excess.

4. Take a Schlappen feather and strip most of the fuzzy fibers off the base. Tie it in directly behind the tungsten eyes with the shiny side of the feather facing up.

5. Wrap the feather three times away from you behind the eyes to create a bulky shoulder on the fly, then continue wrapping rearward using even spaces until you reach the back of the fly’s body. Hold the tip of the feather secure, then take the wire with your other hand and wrap it away from you to counter-wrap the feather. Using open spiral wraps, take the wire all the way forward to the tungsten eyes. Tie off the wire and trim the excess.

6. Whip finish directly behind the tungsten eyes, clean up the head, and finish it with a drop of glue.

Drew Daniels is a sales associate at Bozeman Fly Supply.