Our Man From Canada

BANDED WOOLLY BEAR (Pyrrharctia Isabella)

Steven H. McGarthwaite - Aug 12, 2013

Banded Woolly Bear

The Pyrrharctia Isabella's common name is the "Isabella Tiger Moth", and in its larva stage its common name is the "Banded Woolly Bear"!

Isabella Tiger Moth (Pyrrharctia Isabella)

For over two hundreds of years, farmers have used the Banded Woolly Bear to prognosticate on how severe the upcoming winter months will be. I ask you, could it be that the "Banded Woolly Bear" could be a better prognosticator than Punxsutawney Phil?

The "Banded Woolly Bear Caterpillar can be found across most open grasslands of Mexico, Canada, and the United States, and most of the year the caterpillar is on the ground munching on grass for its need of nourishment and water, preferring open grassland. The Banded Woolly Bears starts seek cover in the autumn to hibernate under a rock or in hollow cavities of trees.

During the winter the Woolly Bear Caterpillar will freeze, and remain frozen  until spring arrives,  when it begins building a cocoon, emerging after a short interval as a Isabella Tiger Moth.

Just as other terrestrial insects from various reasons, somehow enter into the aquatic environment, the same applies to the Banded Woolly Bear and other members of the "Arctiidae (Tiger Moth) family of over 11,000 species. The word Tiger denotes their bright colorations….


Hook: Streamer, 4xl, size 10 or 12.
Thread: Dark Brown, 6/0.
Underbody: Dark Brown foam strip, 1/16 in width.
Body: Chenille; sequence Dark Brown/ Orange/Dark Brown.
Head: Black or Dark Brown thread.


Instructions for Dressing the Banded Woolly Bear

Dress the hook with a tight thread wrap (no gaps between wraps, palmer the thread to the front of the hook shank.

For a surface presentation, attach and secure the foam strip, at the rear of the hook shank, and wrap the foam strip around the hook shank forward  and secure with couple of tight thread wraps and a half-hitch (the foam strip will help create a level presentation of the finished "Banded Woolly Bear" in the water surface.

For a subsurface presentation, attach and wrap 0.015 non-lead wire along the hook shank. Wrap the non-lead wire with a strip of plastic (sandwich bag), palmer forward with thread and palmer back to rear of the hook shank.

Sequence for the dressed hook shank is (1/4, 1/2, 1/4) of either the (Black, Dark Brown, Black or Dark Brown Orange/Dark Brown chenille). Wrap the chenille and secure with tight thread wraps at the end of each segment of the body.

Create a small Head, using the thread to secure and whip finish the fly pattern.

For more great info, check out:

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