Woolly Bugger Fly Tying

The Woolly Bugger is one of the most often used and easiest patterns to tie. The Woolly Bugger is a wet fly (also called a streamer) that was created by Pennsylvania fly tyer Russell Blessing. Learn more about the supplies you need and how to tie a Woolly Bugger in this section.

One of the best things about the Woolly Bugger is that it can be tied in a number of different colors or sizes to match the forage in whichever waterway you want to fish. In other words, fly tying patterns like the Woolly Bugger can resemble large nymphs, baitfish, leeches, insects, crayfish, shrimp, or small crabs when stripped through the water. While the Woolly Bugger is most often used to catch trout in freshwater rivers and streams, it is such a versatile fly that it can even be used when saltwater fishing for red drum or seatrout.

Woolly Bugger: Fly Tying Supplies

This particular fly is simple to tie with any basic starter kit of fly tying equipment. In fact, the traditional Woolly Bugger fly pattern is tied using a few basic fly tying materials and supplies.

  • Brown Thread
  • Size 4 hook
  • Brown Chenille
  • Brown Hackle
  • Brown Marabou

Once you have your tying kit and supplies ready, you can follow the instructions below for this pattern. These instructions will teach you how to tie a brown Woolly Bugger, but you can always substitute different colors of marabou and chenille. Olive green and black are two examples of other colors that are commonly used when tying this pattern.

Woolly Bugger: Fly Tying Instructions

You are now ready to tie one of the most popular fly tying patterns for trout in six simple steps. Start by securing your size 4 hook in your fly tying vise, and then follow the directions to tie a Woolly Bugger.

  1. Tie a small bunch of brown marabou to the hook so that it extends to about 1½ inches beyond the end of the hook.
  2. Tie in your brown hackle and a piece of brown chenille above the tail.
  3. Wrap the chenille forward until it reaches approximately 1/4″ of the hook eye.
  4. Palmer (wrap in a spiral fashion) the brown hackle over the top.
  5. Use a half hitch or a whip-finish, and then trim off the tag end of your thread with scissors.
  6. Add a drop of head cement to further secure the thread and materials.

That's all you have to do. Once you have tied your first Woolly Bugger, don't be afraid to try adding different materials (such as flash and eyes) or create your very own fly tying patterns to use when you go fly fishing.