Skip to content

Woolly Bugger: The Old Standards Still Work

  • by

Cow Shoals at Heber Springs on the Little Red River - Early Morning Fog


After a couple of hours fishing below the dam, we decided to move down river to Cow Shoals. The first time I saw Cow shoals, it looked like s scene out of A River Runs Through It. Yesterday morning the water was down and the sun was up. At Cow shoals, the river was down and the sun was up. Cow Shoals is a great place to fish in the morning as the water on the access side is shallow, and the sun casts the opposite bank in shadow. The water here is about 2 feet deep, perfect for wading, and the bottom is river stone that’s level and doesn’t roll around (most of the time).

Bank Across from Cow Shoals walk-in at Heber SpringsI’ve mentioned that some of the battle in fly fishing is knowing where to fish. In this case, the shadows were shrinking, and a couple of fishermen were starting to give up on the location. I decided to try these shadows (the river is flowing from left to right in the photo). I threw a woolly bugger just to the left of the shadows and let the current carry it the length of the tree (until it swung out into the deeper current). Then I waded down a few feet and repeated the process, sweeping the shadows.

My reward is shown in the photos below.

As we were walking back to the car, we ran into a couple. The man immediately said, “We wasted the first half of the day up there by the dam where there were about 1,000 people!”

“Yeah, us too,” my wife volunteered.

Another man came down the stairs as we were about half way up. He had been below the dam without luck.

“Did you have any luck with that hopper pattern?” he asked.

“This is a hopper / copper / dropper rig, I said. I was using the hopper more as a strike indicator than anything else, and the hopper is a little worse for wear,” I told him. “What are you using?”

“This is just a caddis larvae pattern. Catch anything?”

“Yep, a couple.”

“Using what?” he asked.

“A black woolly bugger,” I answered.

He shook his head as he continued down the stairs, “Those things always catch fish.”









Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.