As any multi-species fly angler can attest, a Woolly Bugger is probably one of the most versatile flies to have in your box. It’s a hot meal ticket for some very sought-after species, such as Smallmouth Bass, Trout, Northern Pike, and even larger panfish! A Black Woolly Bugger takes this a step further, with black being an excellent imitation for leeches, dark-coloured crayfish, and even certain baitfish. Using this dark shade is ideal for overcast conditions or in muddy or tannin-stained waters. Woolly Buggers are excellent as they can be fished in every part of the water column, depending on your fly line, the water temperature, time of year and/or the species you’re targeting. Whether you’re swinging your Woolly Bugger like a streamer, stream fishing it like a nymph, or even using it under a strike indicator, there’s no doubt that you’ll find success with this epically versatile fly.
This fly is truly one of my favourites. The Scotty’s McFly was created by Scott Currie of the town of Massey, located in the Algoma region of Northern Ontario! This is an epic smelt pattern imitation perfect for targeting Smallmouth Bass, Northern Pike, and even landlocked Salmon! Use this streamer with a sink tip, intermediate, or even full sinking fly line to explore every part of the water column.
Another excellent smelt imitation, the Murdich Minnow is an excellent streamer to have in your multi-species arsenal. While this fly was originally designed to target stripers on the East Coast, it’s become a fan-favourite of fly anglers everywhere when targeting species such as Smallmouth Bass, Brown Trout, Northern Pike, and even Walleye. Due to the smaller, simpler profile of this baitfish imitation, it works best in clearer water, or when fish are busting bait balls. While this fly can absolutely be effective in most areas of the water column with an intermediate line, I always find the most success when using a floating line. When matched with the floating line, the weight of the fly itself allows it to sit just below the surface of the water- optimal for active, hungry fish.
4. Game Changer
The Game Changer is an excellent fly to use when targeting more predatory species such as Musky and Northern Pike, however, I’ve had success with this pattern when angling for Smallmouth and Largemouth Bass, large Brown Trout, and even Musky! One of the features that make this fly so uniquely versatile is the realistic, articulated movement provided by a series of joints along the shaft! Another plus, these flies are tied with fully synthetic material, which in turn results in the fly becoming less waterlogged, making them incredibly easy to cast. Often designed as a smelt or perch imitation, the Game Changer performs well using virtually any setup, in any environment. Whether you’re fishing light rods and floating line in a river or a full sinking line in your local lake, the Gamer Changer is sure to produce.
Another epic streamer fly, the White Zonker is the perfect choice when stream fishing for Trout, in lakes and rivers for both Smallmouth and Largemouth Bass and can even be successful when targeting Salmon and Steelhead. One of the more classic multi-species flies, a White Zonker aims to imitate a variety of baitfish and is an excellent attractor pattern thanks to exaggerated movement in the tail and its shiny, reflective underbelly. This pattern works best in water between two and six feet deep; varying your retrieve and twitching your rod tip to imitate a wounded baitfish is sure to get a reaction.