Leeches and Wooly Buggers

Leeches and Wooly Buggers in-stock, no sales tax - $50 orders ship free in USA.

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Kathy Bushnell at Rocky Ridge Ranch

There are many "wormy" looking creatures that live in aquatic environments. Most lakes and weedy streams have dense populations of leeches and aquatic worms. During much of the time they are buried in the substrate or bottom vegetation. However during low light conditions they often forage about where they are exposed to patrolling game fish. Trout and bass seek out these tender morsels and eat them like candy. This is especially true early in the spring before weeds start to grow. Leeches and Wooly Buggers are your most important early season lake flies. If the water temperature is cold, they are most effective when fished slowly along the bottom with a sinking fly line.  Leaches and Woolly Buggers are also very important flies for fishing the steep, fast moving streams west of the Cascades. Earthworms live in the humus under our forests in prolific populations. Seasonal precipitation and immense water fluctuations sweep many into our rivers.  All of the coastal streams that connect with the Pacific Ocean have Lamprey Eels. These two-foot long aquatic invertebrates are anadromous, like salmon and steelhead. That means that they spend their reproductive cycle and larval cycle in fresh water streams, but also spend part of their rearing cycle in the ocean. None of our salmonids have evolved large enough to eat them in their adult form; (to bad). However, Lamprey larva live in the sandbars and silts that collect in eddies and pools of their natal streams, for two years. These sandbars are continually shifting and these Lamprey larva are often exposed to any fish that live in the same area. Even in the early stages of development they are able to swim with surprising speed. Juvenile Lampreys are clumsy and sightless until just before they migrate to the ocean. At this stage they develop eyes and turn from olive-gray to blackish-silver. Lamprey larva may account for the fact that marabou leech and wooly bugger patterns are so productive for trout and steelhead in our west-slope streams even though they don't have prolific populations of leeches.
Flash-a-Buggers simulate a number of game fish foods including large nymphs, leaches, crayfish and bait fish. They might be termed big "yummies". If you have the right size and color of Flash-a-Bugger, you can probably catch nearly every specie of fresh water predator-fish with it. Black, Peacock and Olive Flash-a-Buggers are the staple flies for early season lake fishing. As the water warms Brown and Maroon become equally effective. Black, Brown and Olive Flash-a-Buggers are productive for trout and Small Mouth Bass in all rivers, all year. They have proven most effective when fished deep with a sinking tip line. Possibly the single most effective summer steelhead fly on either side of the Cascades is the Purple Flash-a-Bugger.
Golden Trout

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