Posts Tagged ‘Little Fort Leech


Fly Tying & Fishing: Little Fort Leech (Variation)

little fort leech variation swittersb

Yes, a version of the ubiquitous Woolly Bugger, The Little Fort Leech. Without question, and for whatever reasons, the best dark WB I have ever used. Yes a basic black or dark brown WB will produce, as will almost any colored body combination given the right location and presentation. However, this pattern can be fished wit confidence on stillwaters and rivers. Simple to tie, this variation has a variegated marabou tail rather than the traditional Black marabou with a bright splotch of red hackle or marabou tied atop the black. The abdomen/thorax is lightly palmered with dark brown hackle. It is unweighted save the bead head. I tied this fly on a stout size 8 hook. I came upon this pattern about 20 years ago in Little Fort, British Columbia at a fly shop and have never stopped tying this very basic fly.

LFLs SWittersB


Scream Time: Woolly Buggers…The Fish Can’t Help It

I know, I know. So original right? I have written about this so many times, I understand. But, with the stillwater fly fishing effort a float, I have to come back to two patterns that have phenomenal success. On a recent outing these two patterns accounted for 80% of all the fish caught and that was quite a few. And, one pattern in particular, Gaviglio’s Minnow Bugger racked up well over half of the 80% takers. 

This was my wife’s Minnow Bugger, minus the hackle, after releasing another fish. Several times the hits were so jarring, her tippet came away minus the Minnow Bugger. NO! I don’t have any financial~commercial interest in this pattern.

The Little Fort Leech (LFL) and the Minnow Bugger (MB) are straight up Woolly Bugger patterns with a few exceptions: The tails are either stacked with a hot spot of red (LFL) or stacked with two colors of equal length marabou (MB). Sparkle chenilles for the bodies and the rest is standard fare. That’s all I can say. Just so profoundly successful over all the other WB’s I concocted from basic drab colors to the provocative foozies…the Little Fort and Minnow Bugger patterns kicked some tail.

 The Gaviglio Minnow Bugger was placed in my palm just five years ago by Bob Gaviglio at the Sunriver Fly Shop. The Little Fort Leech was first found inside the Little Fort (B.C.) Fly Shop twenty + years ago. I have gone straight, basic black WB’s and they don’t match the LFL. The Minnow Bugger seems to outshine all shades of basic green and more. Ok, I promise I will never mention these two patterns again.

Another Dine and Dash Attempt after consuming the Minnow Bugger. What more can I say?


Fly Tying: Biot Hot Spot on a Bugger

Regard the ubiquitous Woolly Bugger…I make no apologies in promoting or using the fly. It just works. But, the last few years with the Woolly Bugger (Little Fort Leech) and the Lake Bait pattern, I used dyed hot red and hot green hackle fibers or dyed hot red marabou fibers either at the top of the tail, but shorter than the tail length or at the sides tied in at the head. I have been wanting to experiment with the side of the head spot for an attractor hot spot. In the Brown Buggers, below, I used a dyed red goose biot. I will explore the length, durability and success of the material. Remember, the hot spot here is for an unweighted fly, so the hot bead head is not an option. Of course, the two could be combined with a heavier weighted fly.

Woolly Bugger w/ Hot Red Goose Biot, Unweighted, Size 8

The Tried & Very True Little Fort Leech (Hot Spot On Top of Tail)


Fly Tying & Fishing: Little Fort Leech

For my last two stillwater fly fishing outings, the lakes were alive with all manner of insect activity. Last week there were Caddis, Damsels and Dragons and a smattering of Callibaetis. Today, there was a non-stop Chironomid hatch, sizable midges, Caddis, Callibaetis, Tricos, Dragons and on both occasions the overwhelming productive fly was the Little Fort Leech. 

It isn’t that I didn’t try other patterns, but few came to other patterns, despite diligent attempts to present the flies just so. As soon as I went back to the Little Fort Leech the assault continued. It was a bit spooky. I experimented with green, brown, olive green. Rejection. Is it the black? The red dash? The gold bead? The peacock and black chenille? Since I first discovered this pattern, it has been a stalwart stillwater pattern. 

I do attempt to do more on a lake than kick about trolling a woolly bugger. I mix up the retrieves; sometimes I kick, wind drift or anchor. The Little Fort Leech fly is in my top 5 any time. 


Fly Tying: Little Fort Leech (Spumoni For The Taking)

So many ‘must have’ options for the beginning stillwater fly fisher. Of course, the ubiquitous Woolly Bugger in assorted sizes and earth tones is a must have pattern for the lake fly fisher. The Little Fort Leech first caught my attention in, well the Little Fort Fly Shop in B.C. some 20 years ago. It has always been one of my top stillwater flies because I fish it with confidence. I have experimented with a brilliant green dash on the tail with some success, but frankly never with the successes of red. A simple black tail, black flashy chenille these days, black hackle and gold bead with that red splash. No other adornments…no flashy strands of  Krystal Flash or ribbing. This a perfect lake pattern (I recall catching a beautiful, large Redside above Maupin on this fly on a very chilly morning) whether inched, stripped, wind drifted…what ever. Dragon fly nymph, leech, baitfish?


Little Fort Leech & Fuzzy Dragon Deliver

This past Sunday, I was working the Little Fort Leech slow and low with the wind. I had had a successful morning picking up hatchery fish, but of no size.  I decided to switch from the heretofore successful Orb to the Little Fort Leech and to fish deeper water. My plan worked! The only one like it for the day. Yes, it is a hatchery fish, but it was a fiesty trout and for once my son, Tony, was not at the other end of the lake. So, I got a picture. Many fish were caught today, but this one will be added to my special moments. It barely made it into the net. The fish was quickly released and swam away with a strong flex of its’ tail. This fish was caught from a Cascade Mountains’ lake.   

Tony Muncy had an equally successful day and the above homely, little Fuzzy Dragon, in green, bug eyed and all, was a killer fly. Dragon flies came off for hours (not much else until an evening midge hatch) and the Fuzzy Dragon(s) were eventually torn to shreds. The fly accounted for dozens and dozens of trout. Also, productive patterns were The Orb, Prince Nymph, Calico Woolly Bugger, Lightning Bug, Lake Bait  and a lighter green leech pattern. The picture below is of a Lake Bait fly. This pattern was new to us and provided to Tony by a generous lady he met on the lake. He tried it and it was also a productive fly. Tied on a size 10 hook, it was a pretty big fly. You can see it is basically a fat Carey Special with hot red overwing and the Marabou/Chickabou tail. It worked well and that overwing really glowed.


Calico Bugger (craft store boa)

Calico Bugger

The basic Woolly Bugger pattern. I designed this pattern some ten years ago for Salmon Lake at the Douglas Lake Ranch (an excellent non-pay lake at the East end of the ranch) in BC. I had had excellent results the year before with a brownish woolly bugger with grizzly hackle and a black tail. At a local craft store, I came upon a boa that incorporated black, gray (grey for the Brit’s), tan, brown and creme marabou feather fibers. I started cutting off clumps from the boa and creating the tail of the bugger from the boa. The body was either a mottled/varigated brown chenille or rug yarn or here a black/purple/maroon dubbing blend with the grizzly palmered hackle. The Calico (like a cat) Bugger has always produced. I either start with a Calico, Little Fort Leech or a Minnow Bugger. Between the three, the traditional color spectrum of black, brown and green are covered and these flies are more appealing to the flyfisherman…an important consideration to me. With the Calico Bugger a mottled affect is created, especially with the tail. The boa makes blending of marabou fibers easy.     



Little Fort Leech~Oregon Staple (Kamloops Origin)

Yes, I know, we are all beyond the Woolly Bugger. But really, as a stillwater flyfisher you most probably fish one every time out. This pattern (the Little Fort Leech, is a basic black WB but the fly honestly outfishes the basic black so much that I have to wonder if the red tuft of marabou enhances its’ effectiveness. I first bought a version of this fly…the original I the Little Fort Fly shop about fifteen years ago. I fished it then on the Lac des Roches near Little Fort, BC and it was great. I have sense used it for years and it always produces in sizes 6 to 10.  I have experimented with hot orange, hot green and purple. I can’t yet say if they are as effective as the red highlight. For now, red is the ticket. I am going to reread my earlier post re UV markers for certain feathers and perhaps try yellow or chartreuse as I noted they displayed more ‘flash’. All this may be moot depending upon the depths and available light. Blues/Purple may do better for the deeper waters? My steelheading studies make me recall colors fading with depth and available light. Anyway, this fly works on stillwaters, reservoirs, ponds AND rivers. Last fall while swinging this exact fly on the Deschutes R. near Harpham Flats for first light steelhead, I caught a gorgeous, large redside trout with this exact fly. I have not fished WB’s and other streamers on rivers like they do in say Montana. But, the early morning success has made me reconsider the option. As for stillwaters, this and the Minnow Bugger are my go to search patterns.  

The Minnow Bugger; originally found at the Sunriver Flyshop. Owner, Robert Gaviglio, introduced us to it and touted it as a great fly. Well, he was right! The Little Fort Leech,the Minnow Bugger and the Calico Bugger are a great threesome.  

The Calico Bugger was created from a boa from a craft store, a multi-colored boa. The tail colors of gray, tan, brown and black are a perfect blend of colors. This fly has been successful on many occasions on lakes east of Merritt, BC.

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