Peacock Backed Woolly Buggers

By Mike Hogue

One of the most effective flies I have ever used and developed is the peacock backed woolly bugger. About 10 years ago I developed the peacock backed bugger while fishing on the White River in Arkansas. At the time, I was in search of the perfect woolly bugger and was looking for a way to improve the standard pattern which worked so well in the sculpin rich tail waters. I have used this pattern with great success where ever I have fished. With this single fly I have caught trophy browns, rainbows, cutthroats, salmon, bass and panfish. The fly can be used as a crawfish imitation, sculpin pattern and for large aquatic insects such as cranefly larva or hellgrammites.

My influences for this fly came from 2 sources: Ed Story's Crackle Back and Dave Whitlock's Flash-a-Bugger. Ed Story is the owner of Feathercraft in St. Louis, MO. Over the years that Ed has been in business, he has touted this pattern as one of the best to fish. The Crackle Back is tied with a furnace hackle, various shades of dubbing and peacock herl pulled across the back of the fly. Whitlock's Flash-a-Bugger had Flashabou in the tail, a peacock back and was tied on up eye salmon hooks.

When I was developing my pattern, I thought about these 2 flies and used ideas from each. The Crackle Back has typically been tied in smaller sizes and is often fished as a dry. It lacked a tail and the action I was seeking but I did like the different colors and contrast of that the hackle and peacock provided. The Flash-a-Bugger was tied on a salmon hook and most often was tied in white to imitate minnows which I didn't much care for. I did like the flash used in the tail and also the differences in the colors.

After several experiments, this fly evolved. With the large numbers of fish in the White, I fished many patterns and this particular one was chosen by the fish as their favorite. It takes the best ideas from both of these flies and the new combination is very effective. I like that it can be fished as many sorts of patterns and that it imitates both sculpins and crawfish.

Pattern: Mike's Peacock Backed Woolly Bugger

Hook: Mustad 9672, Targus 5263 sizes 4-10

Thread: 6/0 Black

Tail: Bronze Flashabou over Strung Marabou or Woolly Bugger Marabou

Body: Variegated Medium Olive and Black Chenille

Rib: Oval Tinsel

Hackle: Olive dyed grizzly

Bead: 5/32" Gold Bead ( size 8) , increase or decrease size for different hooks.

Locating Materials:

When I first discovered variegated chenille I went crazy tying every combination of colors I could find. This material is created by the Danville Chenille Company to have alternating bands of colors. I found that the Olive/Black is one of my favorites. For hackle I use wide webby saddle hackle. I prefer to use grizzly that is dyed olive and I look for feathers which are Christmas tree shaped and taper to a point. Soft feathers that contain a great deal of web give the fly great action. I also prefer using woolly bugger marabou which has a very life like quality to it. In a pinch, strung blood marabou can also be used as a substitute. For either types of marabou I look for material which has little or no stem and clean ends with no broken tips. Avoid marabou with ratty, broken ends or marabou which has tat stems. \

Most hackle growers such as Whiting, Ewing or Keough offer dyed grizzly saddles. Some growers such as Ewing offer bleached grizzly dyed olive for a really interesting effect. Variegated chenille, Bugger Marabou and Bronze Flashabou are available from Hareline Dubbin or Wapsi Dealers. If you are unable to locate these specific materials, you may substitute standard olive chenille and omit the Flashabou.

Tying Steps:

1) Slip the gold bead over the hook. The larger hole should face the rear of the hook. If you have trouble sliding the hook over the point, smash the barb down.

2) Start thread and created a thread base. Tie in the tail such that the length of the tail is equal to the hook shank. Next select and clip the Flashabou to length. Use 7-10 strands of material, making it twice as long as the tail. Fold it in half and tie it in on top of the marabou, equal to the length of the tail. The small loop keeps the material from slipping and locks it down tight.

3) Select 4-5 peacock herls. I use eyed peacock sticks and pull the herl off the stem, leaving the rough edges exposed. Fold the herl in half and tie on top of the hook shank. If you make the herl a bit long than the tail, it will be easier to separate and fold when finishing the body.

3) Select a saddle hackle that is wide, webby and tapered to a point. Stroke the fibers of the fly down and tie the feather in by the tip. Tie in the rib.

4) Advance thread forward to the eye. Lay the chenille parallel to the hook shank and tie down, moving thread to the back of the hook. By tying the chenille in the front, it will make the body more even and consistent.

5) Move thread back to the eye of the hook. Wrap chenille forward and tie off. Wrap rib forward in even oval turns and tie off. Wrap hackle forward and tie off.

6) Run your finger over the top of the hackle, pulling and folding it to the sides. Pull herl over the back, compressing hackle and tie off at the behind the bead. Whip finish and that's it. This fly is a bit more complicated than the standard types of patterns. If done neatly, this will make a very attractive pattern that is beautiful and fishes very well.



Even LOWER Price: New England Streamer Blow Out: I have a ton of these flies. Very colorful, pretty and useful. Lot o flies most never heard of but will still catch fish. Mostly sized 6-8. Ideal for bass , lake trout fishing, stream trout or even crappies. Buy some for a friend or add to a picture and plant on your desk at work. Buy one dozen, get one free ! My choice: $8 a dozen. YOU WONT REGRET IT!!

Mega Assortment Pack of Foam: 3" x 4" squares of fly foam. Use for ants, beetles, hoppers or for paraposts. 10 pieces pre pack. $2.00

Fishing Grade Jungle Cock: These have been super hot sellers. I am almost sold out of my second batch. These are grade B necks which are loaded full of beautiful jungle cock nails. These contain some split feathers but are ideal for fishing flies. Use them for jassids, salmon flies, streamers and more. Elsewhere these retail for more than $130! NOW $50 or 2 for $90.

The last bits of the Hebert Hackle sale are here. When I am sold out of this stock, the deal is over.

Hebert ( AKA THE Catskill neck) Dry Necks: These are for tying larger dries in say 8-18. Hackles are great for Catskill/PA flies. Colors: Sandy Cahill dun, Dark brown Dun. Grizzly Variant ( not a true grizzly, more like dun/cream grizzly), Black, Brown, Ginger. $20 Not available at Some-more-orvis or at the mega Cabella's. WOW!

Buy the rooster neck, get a free hen neck.

Whiting's Hebert Dry Saddles. These are long full hackles of 12-14" long. Bronze grade. Most similar to the Metz micro barbs. Ties 10-14. Ideal for Catskill flies and dries. Nice colors: Dark Brown dun, Black, Grizzly dun variant, Cahill sandy dun, Brown, Ginger. Awesome stuff. My cat Teddy loves this. I had a sample he destroyed. I came home and found about 10,000 feathers in my suit case and no leather. Laura and I are still looking for the patch. $16 each. WOW!

Buy a saddle and get either a free half cape or a free hen saddle. This is an unreal deal!!!!!!!!!!

British Pelts In: I have Red Grouse: $35, Magpie: $25, UK Partridge: $26, UK soft hackle skins/similar to Snipe $25.00

Also just in: Red Pheasant or Temminick's Tragopan. Full skins/head, wings, tails. Eyed feathers. Use neck for cock of the rock $50.00

UK Woodcock Subs: Ideal for soft hackle flies. $4.50. Red Grouse wings: $4.50

Mole Skins: Used l for soft hackles. Fur is super fine. Some hikers put this in the backs of shoes to keep blisters down. Colors:Fiery Brown, Blue, Claret, Tan, Black, Green, Olive. $3.50\

Amadou: Real stuff. Use for drying flies. Best for CDC flies. Mushroom often used in jackets. $12.50

More Genetic CDC: My supper select CDC is a hot seller. These are twice as long as regular CDC. Use for Magic Tool Flies. I have added several new colors: Dyed Light Dun, Olive Dun, Olive, Yellow. Natural colors: White, Brown Dun, Light Dun, Dark Dun, Light Ginger, Medium Ginger. $3.50

Gentic CDC Puffs: These are twice as full as standard puffs and about 25% longer. Come from Genetic ducks. I added Hot orange. Colors: White, Brown Dun, Light Dun, Dark Dun, Ginger. $3.50


Time to clean House. More new stuff is on the way, time to mark down and move some stuff.

BUY this stuff now!!!!!!!!!!! Must go!!!!!!!!!!!

Big Fly Fiber: I am never stocking this again! Last time pike tyers wanted this I got burned. Use this for mega divers for pike or musky, super long striper flies. Yellow or Lime: $1.75

Flour Fiber: This is very tiny sized antron. Use for spinners, midges, or as a shuck. Was hot stuff for saltwater. Grey, white, green or gold. $1.75

Gliss N Glow. Sort of like Fire Fly. Use for ribs, wind on as a body for lightning bug bead heads. Colors: Silver, Clear. $1.75

Polar Fiber Craft Hair: This is nice stuff for minnow patterns. Use for streamer hair. Colors: Orange, Brown, White: $1.75

Arctic Runner/ Icelandic Horse Hair: Sort of a polar bear sub. Use for hair wings. Nice hair. White, Gray, Chartreuse. $2.00


New Stuff:

Mike's Hook Bowl: Stainless steel, machined from bar stock. Mix epoxy in these, use to hold beads and hooks. Very cool, available no where else. $12.00, 2 for $18.00

Mike's Bobbin Bag: Just in! Made to my specs, this is available exclusively at Badger Creek. Cordura zip bag with fleece inside, has cord with zipper pull. This is a great bag, more or less 4 by 8", put all of your spooled bobbins, stacker and fat tools in this pouch. Holds a boat load of stuff. You can toss in bodkins, whip finishers. Green color. Very nice, available nowhere else......I am not kiddng! This is a 100% exclusive deal. Made in USA by Clear Creek. $12.00

Mike's Woolly Bugger Hackle: This is a fine sythetic yarn with long fibers, wrap as a collar on salom flies, use as woolly hackle. Just wrap and go. Very easy to use. Black, White, Brown, Olive, Chartreuse. $1.50 or all 5 for $6.00

Crystal Antron Chenille: This is very nice stuff. It is antron spun into a chenille with small flecks of mylar. Creates a bit more flash. Use for woolly buggers, eggs, egg sucking leeches or bass flies. Size Small or Medium. Colors: Red, Black, Olive, Flo Yellow, Chartreuse, Brown, Tan, Hot Orange, Purple, Dun. $2.25

Cam Siegler's Bubble Cone Head: Nope these aren't salt and pepper caps I ripped from the school lunch room! These are large cones with holes drilled to create bubbles on retrieve. Use for making very large flies. Silver Only. Size:1/2", 5/8", 3/4" $6.50

Mega Braid: This is the big stuff. Super wide ( about 1" or so). Biggest use is for spoon flies and redfish cave's wobblers. Makes neat spoons. If you are a pike fisherman you need a spoon also! Colors: Silver, Gold, Pearl: $5.00 Gold Tone or Silver Tone ( smaller packs): $3.00

UNI Strech: At your request I added this material. Stretch is a fine poly yarn that is combed out. Use like floss to make bodies or to build up an area. Colors: White, Black, Gray, Flo Red, Olive, Flo Yellow, Chartreuse, Purple $1.50

Danville Spooled Mono: Often used as a ribbing material on scud, can be used on shrimp patterns. Provides strength. Color: Clear/Size: Fine: $1.50

Danville Spider Thread: This is size 16/0 thread is and is the very smallest diameter thread made. Use for tiny flies or to make very fine heads on salmon flies. Color: White Only. yd. spool. $1.50

Lead Free Wire: At your request I added these. Lead free wire to weight bodies. Use for all of your Yellowstone Park patterns, safer for the environment and also less nasty to yourself. Ideal for use with kids too. Sizes: Fine, Medium or Heavy. $2.50


Reel Markdowns: I have been selling a lot of these reels! I still have stock but when my supplier is out, this is it!

Elite Housatonic Trout 4-5 Reel: Features: Counter Balance / Reel Bag Interchangeable Spools / Baked on Dark Olive Finish, Adjustable Disc Drag / R or L Hand Retrieve / Click Sounds in Both Directions Rim Control Machined Reel Foot. WAS $65, NOW $50.

Great Reel for Fall Salmon / Steelhead Fishing!

Elite Andros Reel: Disc Drag, Counter balance, 3 point needle bearing drag, machined reel foot, reel bag. Size 7-8-9 ONLY. Ideal for saltwater, steelhead, BIG bass or pike. Holds 230 yards, 20 lb backing plus WF-8-F line. Nowhere can you find a saltwater reel at this price!

These were over $120! EVEN Lower Price: NOW $60.00



Fall Fly Tying Class: I will be offering a Fall Fly Tying Class: Local Fall Creek and Finger Lakes Guru, Joe Cambridge will be our instructor for teaching this class. Will be tying fall patterns for salmon or landlocks/Atlantic salmon, fall run brownies. Learn Joe's great patterns. Classes: (/16. 9.23, 9/30. Wednesday nights, 7-9:30pm. Cost $75.00 for all 3 lessons, limited to 10 students.

Beginning Fly Fishing: I will teach a one day class on beginning fly fishing. This is for the person that has never fished or would like to improve basic fly fishing skills. Topics covered: fly casting, knots, outdoor gear ( vests, waders and bags), fly selection, how to buy reels and rods. One day only: Sept. 18 from 10-3pm. Lunch provided. Limited to 10 students. Cost $50.00( Maybe you have a friend/spouse/ child that would like to come).

Spey Casting: This is great for all the folks that would like to learn how to spey cast. We will cover the basics of casting, picking up the line and line mending. You will have a chance to cast the entire line of spey rods from Hertiage. Instructor will be Bruce Hollwich, Rod Rep from Heritage Rods and FFF certified casting instructor. Cost: $35.00, Oct. 2, 2004 11 am- 2pm.

Learn How to Tie Wet Flies: One day seminar with Don Bastion. Don is one of the Northeast's premier fly tyers. Don's flies have been featured in the Art of Angling Journal and Forgotten Flies. Don has also tied the entire set of 500 Ray Bergman flies from the book Trout. He does beautiful work! Don will show how to make married wings, quill wing wets and many traditional patterns. A great opportunity to learn how to tie some very effective flies. Saturday Oct. 23, 2004, 9-4pm. Cost: $75.00, lunch provided. This price is a bargin! Others have been charging $150- $200!

To reserve your spot, call or email me.



August 28, 2004, Summerfest: Catskill Fly Fishing Center and Museum, Livingston Manor, NY. Labor day weekend. Come out for lots of bargains. 9-3pm. Usually I can find lots of old books and some interesting buys plus old flies. I will again have a booth, our 4th year for this show. Lots of fun. You can register for a drawing for a Jack Yelle print with the Catskill Fly Tyer's Guild. It has a patch, the picture, the whole nine yards. For more info go to

Sept 25, 2004, Catskill Fly Fishing Center, Livingston Manor, NY. I will also be a Saturday demo tyer at the CFFCM from 1-4 pm. I plan on doing some flies with a crap load of plastic in it just because Ralph Graves hates those kinds of flies. Stop out to see some of my latest creations. Flies available for sale will benefit the CFFCM. For more info go to

October 15-17, 2004, The Chautauqua Fly Fishing Assembly, Chautauqua Institute, NY. I will be a demo tyer. Many of my flies will be for sale, I will also have many collectable flies on hand. Smaller show, speakers to include: John Shewey, Jim Teeny, Rick Kustich, Chris Helms, Fishy Fullum. I will be showing how to tie some fall patterns. Other demo tyers: Kim Boal, Mark + Misa and more. Call Steve Wascher @ 716-664-7698 for more info


Fishing Report:

More rains have made many streams muddy and unfishable. I haven't been for awhile. Clear water can be found if you fish tailrace streams. Best bet is for Tricos early on the East Branch. West Branch upper section is pretty clean too. In a few days when this starts to drop, many of the streams will fish very well. Too early for salmon just yet. Tricos should come of Toughneoga ( never can spell this....Cortland streams if they ever drop. ) Fish early.


As usual if you would like to be deleted for any reason contact me. For info on ordering contact:

Mike Hogue

Badger Creek Fly Tying

622 W. Dryden Road

Freeville, NY 13068,, 607-347-4946