Woolly buggers became one of my favorite trout flies over the last week. Recent rain meant water clarity was poor. A bigger offering that was easier for trout to locate was just what they wanted.
One of the best things about woolly buggers is how versatile they are. They can be drifted, stripped, twitched, swung, and fished down and across. They’re effective in sizes 2-12. You can catch stocker trout or big wild fish.
Everyone knows that big brown trout are nocturnal predators, but I’d never fished for trout at night before. Thirty minutes into throwing black beaded woolly buggers on one of my favorite Driftless Area streams had me hooked. Detecting the strike isn’t much of an issue. The first one I caught gave a violent take just under the surface. The second 16″+ brown trout charged my drifting bugger. You don’t have to worry about setting the hook.
The next day I found myself on a portion of stream I’d never fished. It was known for big browns. The water was murky, and I knew I’d have to throw something they could find. After swinging a #4 olive woolly bugger over a downed tree I hit a snag. Nope, big brown trout. I caught two more within 10 minutes, and would pull several more good sized wild trout out of the stretch. The success I had on those two outings gave me the confidence to keep slinging buggers for the next five days. I’m glad I did because I caught a lot more trout, and the ones I caught were bigger than average.