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  1. #1

    Default UP Brook Trout & Bow River Bugger

    I had a unique experience the other weekend fishing for native brook trout and naturalized rainbows in a relatively large river in the western UP. The river was still high from the melt, but coming down and clear. Very fishable, finally. Weather was sunny and warmed to ~70. Water temps in the mid 50s.

    Picked up a few decent size brookies (by our standards anyway) on olive streamers. Olive seemed to be the color of choice that day. Pattern didn't mean much. Well, I lost my streamer to some underwater hazard and tied on a version of a size 8 (6?) Bow River Bugger that I had in my box. It was a fly I picked up in some flyshop at some point. But it looked good. Turns out it was entirely un-weighted and I had a floating line, floating leader and couldn't find any split-shot in my sling pack. There was no way to get that thing beneath the surface - I think the deer hair was spun too tightly - looked nice, but floated like a balloon.

    At any rate, I decided I needed to change to a streamer that doesn't think it's a dry fly. So, I just left the line in the water as I was digging out my streamer box and all of a sudden, I feel a tug and hear a splash! I missed the fish but saw it - a nice brook trout. So I cast out my 'dry streamer' again and wouldn't you know it, I got another hit and landed a nice brook trout. What the heck?

    I should mention that this version of the Bow River Bugger had a few rubber legs that moved around nicely when I twitched the fly....that's your first clue....

    I caught 2 more fish from the same run, using the same tactic but couldn't figure out why the fish were taking these things from the surface.

    The answer came to me as I walked downstream a little bit and I saw my answer.... FROGS!!! I watched as I walked and numerous frogs jumped from the bank into the river and swam for shelter. They looked exactly like my olive Bow River Bugger when I twitched it on the surface! I think the brook trout were targeting these frogs who were out and about for one of the first times this spring.

    Unfortunately, I did not have any of my bass /panfish flies with me to try out an 'official' frog pattern. This was a first for me and I'll have to add a frog pattern to my streamer box.

    I thought it was an interesting anecdote and something to keep in mind for the future.

  2. Default Re: UP Brook Trout & Bow River Bugger

    Interesting post. I have heard of guys taking along their smallmouth-sized frog-and-mouse-like flies, esp for night fishing.

    When I was the post title included Bow River bugger, I clicked to see if you were fishing with weight, a sink tip, or what. The "pretty" ones with the tightly packed heads do float pretty well.

  3. #3

    Default Re: UP Brook Trout & Bow River Bugger

    They sure do float. But when rigged with a sinking leader along the lines of what Ard demonstrates in a video on his blog, you can get them down where they should be. It is a really good streamer pattern, I think. Works well for me, anyway.

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  5. #4
    Join Date
    Mar 2008
    Pinedale, WY
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    Default Re: UP Brook Trout & Bow River Bugger

    Interesting story, thanks for sharing!

  6. Thanks sjkirkpa thanked for this post

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