Albert R. Mann Library
Woolly bugger

The Woolly Bugger is a versatile and widely used wet fly, or streamer. The original Woolly Bugger pattern is believed to have been developed in the 1960’s by Russell Blessing, of Harrisburg, Pennsylvania, to imitate a Dobsonfly nymph, or hellgrammite. Since then, countless variations have been tied, and it is now fished in both fresh and salt water to imitate large nymphs, baitfish, leeches, drowning terrestrial insects, clamworms, crayfish, shrimp and crabs.

The Woolly Bugger is so effective, it should be banned from some watersheds. I suspect its effectiveness is due to its resemblance to so many edible creatures in the water--nymphs, leeches, salamanders, or even small sculpins. Its tail undulating behind a fiber, bubble-filled body is just too much for most fish to resist. It just looks like a meal!

Bill Hunter, in The Professionals' Favorite Flies, by Lefty Kreh, 1996