The Bighorn Killer Bug

The Bighorn Killer Bug

June 28, 2012 4:44 pm Published by 6 Comments

Bighorn Killer Bugs

While Frank Sawyer is most famous for the Sawyer style pheasant tail, he also invented one of the best cressbug/sowbug patterns ever developed.  While in most cases his “killer bug” has been long forgotten about, this past winter I came across some yarn that reminded me of the original yarn that he used and began to tie a modern day “Bighorn Killer Bug.” The original yarn is no longer in production. Needless to say my modern adaptation of his original has become one of my go to sowbug patterns on the Bighorn River this year.  The fly is simple to tie and looks really buggy in the water.  Thanks to Ashley production tying them they are now available for sale in the shop.

Ashley knockin out a few dozen Bighorn Killer Bugs behind the counter

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This post was written by Bighornangler


  • Nick Fulton says:

    Can you give us the recipe for your Bighorn Killer Bug please? Is that a dub body? Thanks
    Lander, WY

    • mtangler says:

      Nick, I figured that question was coming. I found that yarn in the back of an old fly shop. From what I can tell it is from the 80’s and is made by a company named Carron. It is a 60% polyester 40% cotton blend. I am trying to find out whether it is still made and where to buy more. It has a really nice sheen to it and comes alive in the water. Will keep you posted as soon as I do a little more research……

  • Nick Fulton says:

    Do you use scud back or mylar then? Thanks

    • mtangler says:

      There isn’t any flash on the fly, all you do is wrap the yarn, tease it out and rib it with gold wire. Form a head with Uni 8/0 fire orange thread.

  • phish20 says:

    There is a co.(Veniard) I believe in England that is making killer bug yarn Chadwick 477 again(wool yarn). I bought some 2-3 yrs ago, not cheap.

  • Alex Martinez says:

    I tie my Killer Bugs with Lion Brand Wool-Ease Yarn in Blush Heather 104. It’s inexpensive and available everywhere. I wrap the hook first with a bit of copper wire for weight. Can’t keep the fish off, honestly !

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