Fuzzy Wuzzy is a trout egg imitation fly
The Fuzzy Wuzzy was created by the late Fred Fletcher to imitate freshwater crayfish (koura) in Lake Taupo. Fletcher was the original builder and owner of the Waitahanui Lodge he started way back in 1932. The simple bach-like lodge situated next to the Waitahanui River, which flows into the eastern side of Lake Taupo, is known by trout anglers the world over.
The Fuzzy Wuzzy can also pass for a trout roe imitation. This being regarded by some in derogatory terms. Certainly, sparsely tied, it makes a great trout egg fly that most certainly will be taken by rainbows in the Twizel Canals. When sold in tackle stores there is a tendency for this lure to be a bit over-dressed. If you are making up your Fuzzy Wuzzies as egg imitations tie in the black squirrel tail, along with the hackle, sparingly.
This popular fly is sold in stores mostly with an orange chenille body. In the Central North Island, the Fuzzy Wuzzy is regarded as a night fly, but it is also effective during the day. There is another New Zealand trout lure called the Red Setter which differs from the Fuzzy Wuzzy only in terms of the colour of the squirrel tail and the hackle.
I have seen the Fuzzy Wuzzy in stores tied with bodies of red, yellow, green and even pink. You could also substitute lighter coloured hackle, and perhaps very light brown hackle fibres for the tail for an even more realistic looking egg imitation. Dare I say it, you might even use dark brown chenille in an attempt to imitate fish farm feed pellets for use when fishing the hydro canals of the Mackenzie Country. Either way, as an egg or feed pellet imitation, it could be fished by the dead-drift method in the canals much the same as a soft bait.
The Fuzzy Wuzzy along with the Red Setter and Hairy Dog, are among the easiest of trout lures for the beginner to learn to tie. There is no need for the fiddly pairing of matching hackles or matuku style winding in of tinsel. If you have never tied a trout fly in your life I recommend you start out creating a batch of Fuzzy Wuzzies. You really can’t go wrong with these.
Begin by clamping a size 2 to 8 lure hook in the vice and winding on an under-binding of thread from the eye to the rear of the hook. The coat the thread with cement to lock it in place. I mostly tie this fly on a size 4 Black Magic A4 Extra Strong Wet Fly and Nymph hook. Tie in a bunch of black squirrel tail hairs – this is correct for a proper Fuzzy Wuzzy. I wouldn’t be afraid to substitute a pinch of hackle or even possum fur for the tail if its all you have. Cut the butt ends of the tail on an angle so you get a taper. You don’t want to end up with a big step down to the hook.
Next wind the thread back to the eye of the hook then tie in the first black cock (hen hackles are wider) neck hackle on top. Then continue winding the thread back along the shaft to the mid-way point and tie in a second black cock hackle on top of the hook.
Tie in your chenille at the rear of the hook and wind the chenille back to the hackle tied in the middle of the hook, then tie off and trim. Clamp the end of the rear hackle with hackle pliers and wind it several times around the hook. Bring the thread through in front of the hackle, push the hackle fibres down on at an angle as in the photograph and off, and trim the remaining hackle with scissors.
Attach the second chenille body segment with your thread, and then wind the thread along towards the head before making wrapping the chenille 3 or 4 times around the hook, as with the first section of chenille. Wind the second hack around the hook as before, push it back, and tie it down, before finishing the head, and applying cement to hold it firmly.
With practice, you will be able to make the right number of wraps and get the spacing looking good. If your first couple of flies don’t look quite right don’t worry about it. I promise you the trout will never know the difference.
Fuzzy Wuzzy Variations
The Fuzzy Wuzzy can be tied with a red, black, green or orange body and still be a Fuzzy Wuzzy according to the late Keith Draper in his wonderful little book Hooked on Fly-tying. If you make the tail using grey squirrel hair instead of black and use fluorescent orange, pink or lime chenille for the body you will have created a Dappled Dog trout fly.
In Derek Quilliam’s authoritative “bible” on the subject The Complete Guide to New Zealand Trout Lures he says, “The Fuzzy Wuzzy is generally regarded as a night lure, but it can be a very effective daytime lure as well.”