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Zonked Squirrel Streamer
By Jeff Pierce (Dr. Fish)
Mustad, USA

This Zonked Squirrel Streamer is yet another very easy fly to tie but is also VERY effective. I was first turned onto this fly by my buddy TL at Wapsi Fly in Mountain Home, AR. TL gave me one of these to fish on the Norfork River right behind his house one evening. He said, "Tie this one once it starts to get pretty dark and swing it through the deeper runs and HOLD ON tight." Well, on my 5th cast with that fly I hooked into a trout that took me into my backing 3 times. After more than 10 minutes, I landed my largest ever resident (non-migratory) Rainbow Trout of 24"! Since then, this fly has accounted for several other big fish and it has found a permanent and important place in my fly box.

Materials for the Zonked Squirrel Streamer

    Hook: Mustad Signature R74 in sizes 2 - 8 (size 4 is used here).

    Thread: 8/0 to match the color of the Squirrel (dark Olive/brown here).

    Body and Tail: Wapsi's Zonked Pine Squirrel in Olive.

    Head: 3/16th Tungsten Conehead with 3D eyes.

    Throat: Hedron's Wing N' Flash in Red.

Tying Instructions: Zonked Squirrel Streamer

    1. Slide the conehead onto the hook and secure the hook as shown with the shank pointing straight down. Apply a drop of Loon UV Knot Sense into the concave side of the cone. Do not use too much as we want to keep some room inside the cone head to allow the materials to slide in when finishing up. More on this is STEP 5.

    I want to take a moment to discuss the Loon UV Knot Sense. This is a GREAT product that most fly tiers could find some neat applications for. I was introduced to it back in January and have been using it a lot ever since. When you apply it, it is something like thin epoxy before curing. You can easily work with it but once you hit it with the UV light, the product becomes rock hard and crystal clear. I use it all the time to finish off saltwater fly heads (instead of Epoxy or other compounds), the shell for a scud back, wing cases, freshwater streamer heads, securing coneheads like on this fly and soon and so on. I'm trying to figure out how I lived without something like this all these years. While tying at some of the shows I have gotten several other tiers very interested and "hooked" on it as well. Be sure to ask your local shop about it.

    2. Use one hand to properly position the conehead. Use your other hand to shine the Loon UV Power Light onto the Knot Sense to instantly cure it and lock the conehead into position. The photo inset shows the 3 UV beams that do the work.

    3. Start behind the conehead and wrap a base of thread covering the shank back to the start of the bend.

    4. Cut a piece of the Zonked Pine Squirrel at a length of around 5 inches. A slightly longer piece is OK. When securing one end as the tail, I like to have a tail that is equal to the overall length of the hook I'm tying on. To secure it, I use my bodkin and part the hair in one spot so that my thread only wraps over the skin and not the fur. After 5 secure wraps, lift the squirrel out of the way and continue wrapping the thread to the base of the conehead. Apply a drop of head cement to the wraps securing the tail. This will help keep the fly from coming apart when the teeth of a large trout contacts the thread here.

    5. Now start palmering the squirrel zonker around the hook shank toward the conehead. When doing so, try not to wrap over the fur as you go. I use a small bowl of water to moisten fingers while doing this. I can then wet the fur and have it all standing up straight and keep it from getting caught under the wraps as I go.

    When I get the squirrel wrapped to the cone head I make 1 or 2 wraps at the base of the cone head and then use my bodkin to slide that final wrap up and into the conehead. Hopefully you left enough room to slide this in as well as allowing the final thread wraps to slide up and inside. This not only gives the fly a great finished look, it also protects the thread from getting cut by those big trout teeth.

    6. Get a small amount of Wing N' Flash and loop it around your thread. You can now precisely position this as the gill on the underside of the fly. After securing it with a few wraps, give it a whip-finish and try to get the thread to slide up inside the conehead. The more durable your flies are, the longer they last and the less you have to tie. Once done, a drop of head cement will do the trick.

    For added realism I then like to add a couple 3D eyes to the conehead and then apply a coat of Hard as Hull to the head. I've said it many times before and I'll say it again. There are many fish out there with false eye spots on their tails. This is to confuse the predators. So, if millions of years of evolution say that predators key on their preys eyes, my streamers will have eyes on them. Once the eyes are on, the fly is finished and ready to fish.


You fish this fly like any other streamer pattern. My best action has come when fishing it three quarters downstream and letting is swing with short strips. In heavy current, a three quarter upstream cast with a mend to get it get down a few inches, followed by quick, short strips has also worked very well. For off color water conditions I'll often tie up some with nickel plated coneheads for a bit more flash and this has made a difference on a few occasions.

I have found this fly to be very effective for numerous coldwater species such as Brown, Cutthroat, Cutbow, Rainbow, Lake and Brook Trout as well as Dolly Varden. A 16lb Brown Trout fell victim to this fly this past November on a local Great Lakes Tributary. That was one of many that day that came to the net and were released on this fly. I have also taken some nice Steelhead and Coho on this fly. The Coho love it tied in Pink. On the warm water side, Bass just love it along with Carp and assorted panfish. Fact is you would be very hard pressed to find a fish that will NOT eat this fly.

Here is a nice 20" Snake River Fine Spotted Cutthroat that could not resist this fly back in August of '04. The night before our fishing the area around Jackson Hole, WY got over an inch of rain and all of the streams and rivers were high and muddy. Fishing was far less than ideal but the Zonked Squirrel Streamer proved to be THE fly that day. While the group struggled to catch any fish, I pounded on large Cutt's swinging this fly (nickel head version) through the murky waters. I lost track of the number of fish over 17" that day and with the high water they were a real handful.

Give the Zonked Squirrel Streamer a try and you too will find a home for it in your box of 'go to' flies. ~ Dr. Fish

About Jeff Pierce:

Jeff Pierce, AKA "Dr. Fish" is the Sales Manager for O. Mustad & Son and Partridge of Redditch. When he can find the time you can rest assured that he'll be chasing something with fins. Whether it's Yellowfin Tuna off Louisiana, monster Bonefish in Florida Bay or Brown Trout on his local waters you can bet that Jeff is no doubt casting flies at something that will bend a rod. . . . For more of his innovative flies check out the bottom of the Mustad Sponsor page!

For more great flies, check out: Beginning Fly Tying, Intermediate Fly Tying and Advanced Fly Tying.

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