The Woolley Bugger

by Jonathan on April 8, 2008

This is a lure which is equally effective in rivers and stillwaters, particularly for rainbows.
The most popular colours are olive, black, orange and red. Can be tied on longshank 8s, 10s, and 12s. For rivers I prefer a size 8 wet fly hook.
Early season on stillwaters a size 8 L/S olive fished on an intermediate line is a good starter. On my recent trip to N.Z. I had about a dozen rainbows to 3lb. in a fast river all on olive and orange woolley buggers on size 12 L/S in a morning session.
There is little new on the tying of this fly which we have not covered on previous lessons.


  • Hook –  L/S size 8, 10 or 12 – wet fly 8
  • Thread – To match body colour
  • Rib – Gold or Silver oval – Gold or Silver wire optional
  • Body – Black , Olive, Orange and Red Chanille
  • Tail – Marabou to match body
  • Tail Flash – Colour to match
  • Hackle – Henny cock, colour to match body ( long enough for 2 turns at head and 3 turns down the body )
  • Gold Bead – optional
  • Clear Varnish ( cement ) – for the head

Happy Fishing
Dave C and the Team

{ 35 comments… read them below or add one }

Stephen Murray April 20, 2014 at 6:00 pm

Hi Dave.
When I tie this particular fly I take the hackle and chenille and I spin then together ( using my hackle pliers ) then I build the flies body. I do this to make the fly last longer.

Gary October 14, 2013 at 8:19 pm


After many years of contemplation I have decided to take the plunge, so to say, and start learning the art of fly fishing. However, I’d hate to pay for something if I can make it myself so have also decided that fly tying is also for me. This is where you could help me greatly. From your experience could you rercomend a list of tools and materials essential for the novice. If it is of importance my training water is to be a reservoir in Somerset.

I hope you can help in this matter


Paul October 12, 2013 at 1:47 pm

I am just learning so these vids are very helpful. Thank you, do you have any for Carp flies?

tommy kavanagh June 13, 2012 at 4:47 pm

hi dave i tied the wolly bugger last night and had a whopper this morning 51/2 lb a private lake i sneak on to its all catch and release but i modafied the wolly up a bit,olive malibu,black hackle,olive dubbing for body and ginger hackle what a fite and fright i got.i had it as my second hook on a sinking line,let it sink and on the retrieve bam.thanks a mill ur very easy to understand but could you display your feathers before you start on the table i have to keep stopping your videos and going back.thanks tommy in wexford ireland

DaveC January 4, 2011 at 3:54 pm

Hi Wayne,
You are lucky to be fishing in Scotland…… of my mothers birth.
Are you fishing stillwaters or rivers? There is a big difference in flies used.
Come back to me
DaveC.and the Team

wayne January 3, 2011 at 2:35 pm

what are the best fly for scottish water many thanks

John Scarborough October 26, 2010 at 3:29 am

Dave:You are a fine teacher and all round good person. I enjoy your videos very much and have tied a number of your flies. I am a bluegill fisher and some of y0ur flies work well over here in south Texsas. Please accept my thanks for your good work and best wishes for the future.
John ( 86-still fishing and golfing)

Ken Smith August 30, 2010 at 3:23 am

Just found your website via a you-tube viewing. You my friend are very watchable and speak very well. Thank you for your time and effort. Also, to your family crew for putting together a great viewing production.

Steve kennedy July 23, 2010 at 8:40 am

Hi Dave, I tied a woolly bugger after watching your video in olive with black marabou and hackle. I wanted to fish it deep so I thought I would include a weighted black head. The fly produced tremendous results when fished very slowly right along the very bottom. Interestingly in about eight feet of crystal clear water it was great fun to watch the surface and mid water fish put their tails up as they swam down to see what was crawling along the bottom. You always knew when you were about to get a take! Thanks for the great videos dave.

Mark July 17, 2010 at 7:00 pm

I have recently obtained a job lot of fly tying materails and it contained nymph foam and synthetic quill – what are these used for and are they any use? if not i sling them.

michael June 15, 2010 at 5:28 pm

isn’t the wooley bugger usualy black?

Frank Pegg March 2, 2010 at 11:33 pm

Hi Dave, I have just found your website, very interesting.I live in Lodi, in the San jouqin county California. I have been tying flies for the last twenty years,and yesterday I fished the local river Mokolumne for two hours with a 90% hook-up using a Renegade tied on a size ten hook, I lost count of the fish I caught and released, perhaps you could include the tying procedure for the Renegade so others can try it. By the way, I too am an oldy of 87.

Corey Becker March 2, 2010 at 4:49 am

Thanks for the great instructions. I just started tying and this is my first fly and I had a lot of fun tying this fly.

Jonathan December 17, 2009 at 12:28 pm

Hi Irish angler
Thanks for helping to spread the word. Your friend probably does not realise just how addictive flytying can be. Once he ties his own he will find them to be more durable and his catch rate will improve. Mayfly nymph….we do have it ‘in the can’ . We had intended doing a DVD and it is on that copy. If Jon is too busy to do a DVD I will try and persuade him to put it on google and I will do a better voice over. Send him a begging letter!
Happy fishing
DaveC.and the Team

irish angler December 16, 2009 at 9:02 pm

dave please tell me a mayfly in its nymph stage and my freind got his first fish on a black woolybuger with gold head he loves your vids he is going to start fly tying at christmas and he says if it wernt for you he would always just buy flys in the shop or make me tye them

Leave a Comment

Previous post:

Next post: