Seal Bugger

Created by Denny Rickards


Imitates dragonfly nymphs, damselfly nymphs, leeches, baitfish, or just something that might be alive and edible.

Denny Rickards originally developed this Woolly Bugger derivative on Klamath Lake, where huge predatory rainbows find it irrestible, but it works well everywhere. Although designed for seal fur, angora goat makes a good substitute. The hairs move seductively in the water, imparting a more life-like sensation than the standard Woolly Bugger. Note that the tail is at least as long as the body (significantly longer than on most Woolly Buggers), and it is tied sparse.


Good body colors include black, green-olive, yellow-olive, brown, maroon, purple, and white. When the fly will be fished deeply, weight the front half of the hook or use a beadhead.

How to Fish

Count-down-and-retrieve or slow retrieve. Vary the retrieve until you find what works best at the moment: slow and steady, fast, strip-and-pause, or quick, short two-inch strips. Also, a wind drift works well in lakes.

Fish at all depths until you find the right one, but most of the time you should be fishing somewhere between two to six feet deep.

HOOK: 5263, sizes 4-10


TAIL: Black or maroon marabou as long as body, tied sparse

HACKLE: Purple-dyed grizzly, palmered four times over body

BODY: Black angora goat (a seal substitute) blended with small amount of red (or orange). Pick out some hairs after tying off the ribbing.

RIB: Copper wire