Posts Tagged ‘Minnow Bugger


Fly Fishing: Gaviglio’s Minnow Bugger

The Minnow Bugger is an amazingly productive stillwater pattern. Over the last five years, this pattern has become my top producer for trout. Tied in sizes 6-10, it rarely fails to produce. I have mixed up the body colors and tail color combinations, but I always revert back to the same color scheme because of the dominance of responsiveness to that pattern.



Photography: Fish Splash


Confused Rufus Pattern & Toxic Waste

I combined the tail of a Minnow Bugger and the Marabou wing of a Rufus Fly. Normally, the marabou wing is situated so the fly will ride point up. So, the wing is tied on the underside of the shank, ‘beard’ style. This reportedly causes the hook to rotate over and present the hook, point up. The slow descent of the fly through the water column should have the marabou wing fluttering upward until the presentation propels the fly forward. All these stillwater ‘bugger’ patterns are tiresome to some, but I find them more tiresome to the arm. I believe the pattern is named for the Rufus Woods Reservoir (Upper Columbia River) Washington State          SwittersB

Speaking of Washington State, while doing a little research on the excellent fishing at Rufus Woods, I came upon a site, The Spokesman, that reports on local fishing in Central/Eastern Washington. They posted a very interesting clip of a 1947 newsreel about Lake Lenore and the dumping of WWII materials into the lake. Zero comments on the blog, but given what a fishery it has become, I wonder what the fishery’s biologist considered when they started developing Lenore?  The Rufus Fly & Chemical Dumping…what a diverse post this was.


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: Woolly Bugger Hackle Options

Traditional Palmered Hackle for Woolly Bugger

Below is another version, called the Mini Bugger, that has the hackle wound in the traditional wet fly wing style. The remainder of the fly is typical Woolly Bugger. Note the multi colors of marabou in the tail.

Version of Woolly Bugger: The Mini-Bugger


Fly Tying & Fishing Woolly Buggers

MIDCURRENT ARTICLE BY Gary Soucie re Woolly Bugger’s Workings

Many of us solely fish Buggers on stillwaters and even more of us do little more to impart life than kicking about in a tube or rowing one behind the pontoon boat. I have enormous faith in the pattern’s worth, in a variety of color combinations. I have vowed, this coming year, to fish more streamer patterns. I have a large hole in my repertoire of presentations when it comes to fishing streamers in rivers. I really wasted a lot of time last year prospecting over quiet waters with a dry. Laziness and short windowns of opportunity. Combo’s of Woolly Buggers will fit nicely into my Streamer arsenal along with Sculpin patterns I am experimenting with.

Soucie highlights excerpts from his book on how to use a stalwart pattern.


Minnow Bugger (Minnow, Dragon or great)

Minnow Bugger

Minnow Bugger

I tied this on a size 6 hook, which is a bit big for this fly. I would tie it mostly size 8 and 10. The photo only hints at what should be pronounced, the tail. It should have a layer of light olive marabou over an equal length of white or tan marabou. The body is sparkle chenille with olive and blue highlights. The rest of the pattern is straight forward Woolly Bugger. This pattern was first discovered by me at the Sunriver Flyshop, Oregon. Bob Gaviglio offered it as an excellent lake pattern and it has repeatedly proven itself, at some point, in every lake I have fished.


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.     



Woolly Buggers: Minnow & Calico Buggers (Better Pics)




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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