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flynoob 07-01-2011 09:51 AM

Woolly bugger color selection
I was wondering... What are some general rules for selecting fly colors specifically woolly buggers (like black vs. brown vs. olive)? Thanks

stl_geoff 07-01-2011 10:21 AM

Re: Woolly bugger color selection
My new favorite color combo is olive tail, crystal olive chenille body, grizzly hackle tied with bright orange/red thread. it just looks buggy and i have been catching ALOT of fish on it.

MoscaPescador 07-01-2011 10:59 AM

Re: Woolly bugger color selection
Get a bunch of colors and experiment with them. Here are a few things that I have observed. None of these observations are 100%.

Dark - Deeper part of the water column, darker days.
Light - Upper part of the water column, sunny days.
Imitating baitfish - Olive, white, gray.
Imitating a crawdad - Brown, orange, or varigated combination of the two.
Imitating a Golden Stone nymph - Brown
Imitating a Salmonfly nymph - Black
Imitating a Yellow Sallie nymph - Yellow


Davo 07-01-2011 11:07 AM

Re: Woolly bugger color selection
Get a wide variety of color combos, I have yet to find one that does not catch fish!! black, brown, olive are just the basic staples. After that color options abound!!

gt05254 07-01-2011 11:08 AM

Re: Woolly bugger color selection
Some friends just got back from Maine. Big landlocks and Brook Trout loved their all WHITE woolly buggers.

lancer09 07-01-2011 12:07 PM

Re: Woolly bugger color selection
Don't be afraid to try all kinds of color combinations, pink can be good as well as chartreuse. If you want to get really creative do a weave. The combinations for woolly buggers is endless, and they will all catch fish somewhre sometime.

mack_s 07-01-2011 01:10 PM

Re: Woolly bugger color selection
Not to hijack the thread...BUT...what sizes do you all carry in your selection of colours??

peregrines 07-01-2011 01:28 PM

Re: Woolly bugger color selection
Hey Flynoob, welcome to the forum. Glad you found us. Feel free to make yourself at home here. And if you're just getting into fly fishing, keep asking questions-- lot's of helpful folks here and there's some good info in the FAQ section and old threads to browse through. (If you want some more pattern suggestions to round out your fly box, tell us what kind of fish you're chasing and the type of water you plan to fish.)

Although there aren't any "rules" when it comes to buggers or anything else in fly fishing you'll here all kinds of theories- some may even work occasionally. Some common ones are bright day = bright fly, dark day = dark fly. Big, heavy water = big fly, low water = smaller fly. Something that matches the common food items in general size and color is a probably a good choice, but sometimes flies in bright unnatural colors seem to trigger aggressive strikes.

Adding to what the others have said on buggers

Black-- looks like a lot of things including large stonefly nymphs, leeches, and minnows. Because it imitates a wide variety of things it's good in a bunch of different water types from rivers to lakes and ponds. It's also a good color for stained water for example, found in many streams early in the season or after heavy rains.

Olive- size 8, 10, 12 imitate damsel and dragon fly nymphs found in lakes and ponds. They might be a good choice to fish around weed beds.

(If I was just starting out, I'd pick a couple black buggers and a couple olive ones.)

Brown- in addition to crayfish it also imitates hellgrammites, so it's a good choice for smallmouth. It also imitates small minnows like sculpins and large stonefly and large dark mayfly nymphs.

White- imitates baitfish, and is also a very visible, bright color. To imitate baitfish, I'd probably go with a more imitative pattern for baitfish like a white Zonker, Black Ghost featherwing streamer or simple white bucktail or marabou wing streamer.

Although there are closer imitations for all of these different food items, buggers are often close enough to be decent imitations, as well as having some inherent characteristics of marabou that dances in the current, hackles that breathe and push water, and a profile that pulses on the retrieve and seems to suggest something real tasty.

There are all kinds of buggers with/without flash, rubber legs, coneheads, bead heads, and in all kinds of colors.

You might be interested in pics of buggers tied by forum members from our Woolly Bugger swap that Pocono ran a while ago:

They're so effective it's pretty hard to fish a bugger wrong-- and it may not even be possible. But here are some decent articles to give you some more ideas:

Fishing Woolly Buggers | MidCurrent

Streamers: Think Outside the Swing | MidCurrent

FrankB2 07-01-2011 01:33 PM

Re: Woolly bugger color selection
While I tie Wooly Buggers in black and olive, I only fish the olive buggers. I also tie the olive buggers with brown or grizzly hackle, but fish the buggers with brown hackle 99.99% of the time. Almost every bugger I tie is on a #10 3XL hook. Tail length equal to hook length; gold flashabou on each side of the tail; bead chain eyes in either black or green (KILLER!). I use this bugger when it's dark/light, high water/low water, big fish/little fish, etc. It just plain works. ;) Oh yeah, I weight the hook shank with tin wire: about 15 wraps of .015" tin wire. Bodies had been tied by winding the marabou up the hook shank, but I've been using a subdued chenille lately.

Davo 07-01-2011 01:40 PM

Re: Woolly bugger color selection

Originally Posted by mack_s (Post 279913)
Not to hijack the thread...BUT...what sizes do you all carry in your selection of colours??

I fish mostly big rivers. I carry 2's and 4s mostly

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