Fly Of The Week

Previous Flies
Fly Tying Terms

Butler's Bug
By Philip Rowley

Stillwater fly-fishers across British Columbia are indebted to Glenn Butler for creating his Butler's Bug. Almost every B.C. fly-fisher I know has heard of this pattern and most have a few stashed in a corner of their fly box. Copies of Gleen's original design adorn the fly bins of fly shops across the province. Butler's Bug is an essential fly pattern for any fly-fisher getting started in stillwaters. The fly's universal appeal works in all seasons.

Glenn developed his bug on the shores of Plateau Lake in the Merrit-Kamloops region of British Columbia in the spring of 1980. It is a pattern aimed at impersonating the large climbing nymphs or darners. Fishing was slow and as Glenn put it, "It was one of those off periods when fish weren't biting and a cold beer and some serious fly tying seems to be in order!' Possessing a good knowledge of dragon nymph features and behavior, Glenn set about designing a pattern that highlighted the large abdomen, long stout legs and bulging eyes. Other patterns such as Jules Bloom's Peterhope Nymph inspired Glenn. Jules ran the lodge at Peterhope Lake during this time and Glenn had the pleasure of watching him tie some ugly looking dragons. These ugly dragons worked wonders on the large Peterhope fish.

Materials List:

    Hook: Mustad Signature R74 or 9672, #4 - #10.

    Thread: Black Monocord.

    Tail and Underbody: Natural deer hair.

    Body: Seal's fur.

    Rib: Fine oval tinsel.

    Wingcase: Pheasant tail.

    Thorax: Seal's fur.

    Legs: Knotted pheasant tail fibers (6).

    Eyes: Pheasant tail fibers.

    Head: Peacock herl.

Instructions - Butler's Bug:

1. Cover the hook shank with thread. Prepare and stack a pencil-sized clump of deer hair. Tie in the deer hair at the halfway point on the hook. The tips of the deer hair should reach back no further than the bend of the hook.

2. Pull the deer-hair butts back along the rear of the body to provide additional bulk and floatation. Trim the excess butt material.

3. Tie in a rib of fine oval tinsel. Cover the underbody with a few additional securing wraps of thread. The underbody should not spin or rotate.

4. Using a dubbing loop form a fuzzy body. Wind the rib over the body, tie off and trim.

5. Tie in a clump of pheasant tail fibers by the tips for the wingcase.

6. Take a pair of prepared knotted pheasant tail fibers and figure-eight them in place about half way up the thorax area.

7. Dub the thorax by traveling back and forth a couple of times to lock the legs in place.

8. Pull the wingcase over the top. Tie down and trim the excess wingcase material.

9. Remove several fibers from a pheasant tail. Bunch them together so they are about the size of a wooden match. Figure-eight them in place about 2 eye widths back from the hook eye.

10. Trim the eyes slightly wider than the thorax.

11. Tie in 3 full peacock herls. Wind the herls in and around the eyes, forming the head. Keep the head proportional to the size of the fly. Be careful not to make it too big. Form a neat head and finish the fly.

How to Fish the Butler's Bug

Glenn has a number of ways he likes to fish his bug. If he can see cruising trout, he casts ahead using a sink-tip line to carry the fly down. When the fish comes into range he begins a series of quick strips. If the trout is interested it will dart over and attack the fly. This is an exciting way to fish. Butler's Bug is a great pattern to fish blind too, Glenn uses a mixed retrieve consisting a slow hand-twist retrieve with short snappy strips. The snappy strips imitate the jetting motion of a fleeing or hunting dragon nymph. During the evening, Glenn switches to a dry line and casts his bug into the shallows attracting numerous fish. For many anglers Butler's Bug is a go-to pattern in the absence of other clues. Bumped along the bottom, retrieved up the slope of a deep drop-off or trolled leisurely behind a float tube, Glenn's dragonfly concoction seems magical. Glenn told me that during a sedge hatch, smaller versions of his bug have also worked admirably, another litmus test to this patterns versatility. ~ PR

Credits: From Fly Patterns for Stillwaters, by Philip Rowley, published by Frank Amato Publications. We appreciate use permission.

For more great flies, check out: Beginning Fly Tying, Intermediate Fly Tying and Advanced Fly Tying.

[ HOME ]

[ Search ] [ Contact FAOL ] [ Media Kit ] © Notice