Yesterday a few of my friends and I decided to fish some local private ponds that are know to nurture giant trout. Ten minutes into it we were catching an occasional huge trout between five and ten pounds. After some time things slowed down and I decided to switch from nymphs to streamers. I opened my box and quickly realized I had neglected tying streamers, particularly wooly buggers, this winter. I only had one leftover from last fall, a dark purple wooly bugger. I tied it on and realized I had found the golden ticket. I started sight fishing to a few large trout loitering in a corner of the pond. Some turned, others ignored, but soon I found a 6+ pound rainbow that couldn’t live without that purple wooly bugger. I pricked him on a voracious take, but he spit the fly as fast as he had inhaled it. A few minutes later as a nice rainbow was tailing the same fly, an even larger rainbow appeared out of the dark and hammered my bugger… I didn’t miss him and I landed one of the largest trout of my life.
The sad part of this story happened about a half hour later when I hooked into what would have been my largest fish of the day, and after an immediate 3 foot aerial he unaffectedly swam my dark purple wooly bugger to the depths of the pond, leaving me stunned and out of wooly buggers. Not surprisingly after I got home last night I couldn’t go to bed until I had a dozen wooly buggers tied up. I also put together a Wooly Bugger Tutorial you can find on our tutorial page. That way if anyone is like me and doesn’t have stash of buggers ready to go, here are some tips on tying them up. The ice is off a lot of reservoirs here in the west, and the rest will be icing off here shortly. Do yourself a favor and don’t get caught unprepared or you might end up sitting at home very late tying wooly buggers after what could have been an even better day fishing.
Early every spring I start to get dry fly fever. The thought of small midge adults coming to the water’s surface to get pummeled by hungry trout get me excited every year at this time. The Hi-Vis Griffith’s Gnat represents a cluster of adult midges, but all in all it is just a buggy looking fly. With grizzly hackle and a peacock herl body, it is hard not to look buggy and delicious! This variation is identical to the traditional Griffith’s Gnat with the exception of the parachute that makes it more visible, especially in faster water. It is quite buoyant and floats well enough to suspend small nymphs such as midge pupa imitations or unweighted beatis patterns. It is not only effective during the early parts of the year when it is still freezing outside, but if truly works well year round on many streams and lakes.
Hook: Any standard dry fly hook (e.g. Daiichi 1100 or Tiemco 100)
Thread: Black 8/0
Body: Peacock herl
Parachute: Para post, poly yarn, Z-lon, or any other highly visible material in any bright color you prefer
Sizes: Anywhere from 14 to 22, but my favorites are 14-18