bass flies

Fly Fishing For Bass: The Best Flies To Use

When it comes to fly fishing for bass, having the right flies in your arsenal can make all the difference. Whether you’re targeting largemouth or smallmouth bass, there are certain patterns that consistently produce results. In this article, we’ve gathered information from various sources to bring you a selection of the best bass flies for successful fly fishing.

Surface Patterns for Bass

When targeting bass with fly fishing, surface patterns are a popular and effective choice. These flies mimic the prey that bass feed on near the water’s surface, such as frogs, crawfish, and baitfish. There are several topwater bass flies that you should consider adding to your fly box.

Bass Poppers

Bass poppers are a classic and versatile option for surface fishing. These flies are designed to create chugging and popping noises when retrieved, imitating the sound of struggling prey. The commotion and vibrations generated by poppers are irresistible to bass, often triggering aggressive strikes. Try using different colors and sizes to match the prevailing conditions and the bass’s preferences.


The gurgler is a popular surface pattern that provides a stealthier presentation. This fly floats on the surface, imitating a wounded baitfish or struggling insect. The gurgling and splashing effect created by its design can entice bass to strike. It’s ideal for calm water conditions or when bass are spooked by louder poppers. Experiment with different retrieves to find the most effective presentation.

Dahlberg Diver

The Dahlberg Diver is another topwater pattern designed to mimic a wounded baitfish. This fly has a cone-shaped head that pushes water and creates a wake, attracting the attention of hungry bass. The diving action of the fly when stripped triggers aggressive strikes from bass lurking in shallow waters. It’s a go-to pattern for many fly anglers targeting bass in rivers and lakes.

If you’re new to fly fishing for bass or want a beginner-friendly option, consider the foam spider. This fly is easy to cast and has a realistic silhouette that can imitate insects or small spiders. It’s particularly effective in creeks and smaller rivers where bass feed on a variety of surface-dwelling insects.

Subsurface Patterns for Bass

Streamer Flies for Bass

When fly fishing for bass, it’s important to have a variety of subsurface patterns in your fly box. These patterns are designed to imitate the prey that bass feed on when they are not actively feeding on the surface. Here are some effective subsurface patterns that you should consider:

Streamer Flies:

  • Clouser Minnow: The clouser minnow is a versatile streamer fly that can be adjusted to fish at different depths. It imitates wounded baitfish, making it a great choice for bass.

Crawfish Patterns:

  • Near-Nuff Crayfish: This pattern imitates a crayfish, which is one of bass’ favorite meals. It should be fished slow and deep, allowing it to sink and crawl along the bottom.
  • Creek Crawler Crayfish: Another effective crawfish pattern, the creek crawler crayfish, can be fished in creeks and smaller rivers. It provides a realistic presentation that bass find hard to resist.

When fishing subsurface patterns, it’s important to adjust your retrieve based on the behavior of the bass. Slow and steady retrieves generally work well, but don’t be afraid to experiment with different speeds and pauses to see what the bass respond to best. Target areas where bass are likely to be holding, such as structure, drop-offs, and submerged vegetation.

Popular Bass Fly Patterns

When it comes to fly fishing for bass, having the right fly patterns in your tackle box can greatly increase your chances of success. In addition to the surface and subsurface patterns mentioned earlier, there are several other popular bass fly patterns worth considering. These flies have proven to be effective in enticing bass to strike and are favored by many anglers.

Seaducer Double Barrel Popper

The Seaducer Double Barrel Popper is a topwater fly that creates a big pop on the water’s surface. Its enticing noise and action mimic the struggling movements of injured baitfish, making it irresistible to predatory bass. This fly is known to elicit explosive strikes, making it a must-have for any bass angler.


The Zudbubbler is a versatile fly pattern that offers a combination of satisfying pops and fluttering rubber legs. It is a revamped version of the popular Gerbubble Bug and has proven to be highly effective in attracting bass. This fly can be fished with a variety of techniques, such as popping, twitching, and stripping, making it a great addition to your bass fly collection.

Boogle Bug

The Boogle Bug is a classic bass bug that has been a favorite among anglers for many years. Its perfectly proportioned body and lifelike movement in the water make it an excellent imitation of various bass prey. This fly can be presented in a variety of ways, including skittering, popping, and stripping, and has proven to be highly effective in enticing bass to strike.

Chubby Chernobyl

The Chubby Chernobyl, although originally designed for trout, can be a great fly pattern to use when targeting bass. This large foam fly is buoyant and can imitate natural prey like grasshoppers or cicadas. Its high visibility makes it easy to track on the water, and it has been known to elicit aggressive strikes from bass. Don’t overlook the Chubby Chernobyl when searching for effective bass fly patterns.

Effective Bass Streamer Flies


When it comes to fly fishing for bass, streamer flies are a must-have in your tackle box. These patterns are specifically designed to imitate wounded baitfish, making them irresistible to bass. In this section, we’ll discuss three highly effective streamer flies for targeting bass: the clouser deep minnow, woolly bugger, and galloup’s peanut envy.

The Clouser Deep Minnow

The clouser deep minnow is a versatile and popular streamer fly that should be in every bass angler’s arsenal. It features weighted eyes near the head of the fly, which helps it sink quickly and get down to the depth where bass are lurking. The clouser deep minnow can be tied in a variety of colors to imitate different baitfish species, allowing you to match the hatch in your local waters. Whether you’re fishing in rivers, lakes, or reservoirs, the clouser deep minnow is a go-to pattern for enticing bass to strike.

The Woolly Bugger

The woolly bugger is a classic streamer fly that has proven its effectiveness for bass and many other species. It features a marabou tail and a body made of chenille or other materials that give it a lifelike appearance in the water. The woolly bugger can be tied in various colors, with olive, black, and brown being popular choices for bass. This fly can be retrieved with short, quick strips to imitate a fleeing baitfish or with slower, more deliberate movements to mimic a struggling or injured prey. The woolly bugger is a versatile pattern that consistently catches bass in both stillwater and moving water.

Galloup’s Peanut Envy

Galloup’s peanut envy is a larger streamer fly that is particularly effective for targeting big bass. It features a bulky profile and a combination of materials that create lifelike movement in the water. This fly imitates a wounded or struggling baitfish, making it a tempting meal for trophy-sized bass. Galloup’s peanut envy is often tied in colors such as white, olive, and black, but you can experiment with different hues to find what works best in your fishing area. If you’re looking to hook into a monster bass, this fly should be on your list.

Successful Bass Nymph Patterns

When it comes to fly fishing for bass, nymph patterns can be highly effective in enticing strikes from these freshwater predators. By imitating the natural prey that bass feed on, such as crawfish, leeches, and shad, these patterns can help you land more fish. Here are some successful bass nymph patterns to consider adding to your fly box:

Crawfish Patterns

Crawfish are a favorite meal of bass, especially in freshwater habitats. When using crawfish patterns, like the Cohen’s Jiggy Craw and Ghetto Craw, be sure to bounce them along the bottom to mimic the movement of a crawfish. This technique can entice even the laziest bass into striking.


Leech patterns are versatile and can be effective in a variety of fishing situations. They work particularly well in off-color water or colder temperatures when bass may be less active. The lifelike movement of leech patterns, such as the Woolly Bugger, can trigger aggressive strikes from bass.

Shad Patterns

Shad patterns, like the Double Bunny, are ideal for imitating one of bass’ main forage fish. These patterns can be fished at different depths and retrieve speeds to match the behavior of shad. When bass are targeting shad, using these patterns can result in some exciting strikes.

Additional Bass Fly Recommendations

Now that you have explored some of the best bass fly patterns, let’s dive into a few more recommendations to add to your collection. These flies are sure to attract the attention of bass and increase your chances of a successful fishing trip.

Diving Bugs

One exciting option for enticing bass is using diving bugs, particularly those made with deer hair. These flies create a commotion on the water’s surface, mimicking the movement of struggling prey. Bass find the splashing and popping of these bugs irresistible, often resulting in aggressive strikes. Consider adding some big deer-hair divers to your fly box for those times when you want to create some surface commotion.

Muddler Minnow

A versatile fly that imitates baitfish, the muddler minnow is a must-have for any bass angler. This fly is known for its buoyancy and ability to be fished effectively in both stillwater and flowing water. The muddler minnow’s enticing movement and realistic appearance make it a go-to choice when bass are looking for a tasty meal. Be sure to have a few muddler minnows in different colors and sizes to match the baitfish in your local waters.

Bunny Leech and Mohair Leech

When it comes to imitating leeches, two flies stand out – the bunny leech and the mohair leech. These flies excel in lower visibility conditions, making them perfect for those overcast or murky days. The bunny leech, with its rabbit fur body and tantalizing movement, is particularly effective in enticing bass strikes. The mohair leech, known for its lifelike appearance and undulating action, is another top choice for bass anglers. Don’t forget to include a selection of bunny leeches and mohair leeches in your fly box for those days when leeches are on the menu.

By adding these additional bass fly recommendations to your arsenal, you’ll be well-prepared to tackle any bass fishing adventure. With their enticing movements, lifelike appearances, and proven track records, these flies are sure to attract the attention of bass and bring you one step closer to landing your next trophy fish.

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