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Category Archives: Fly Patterns

Brown Drake

Michigan’s first big fly. Late May to mid-July peaking usually the first two weeks of June.



Hook:     2x streamer hook size 10

Thread:   Brown

Wing:      Medium elk hair tied upright

Body:      Light natural deer hair tied along the hook shank leaving it flared at the end

Hackle:    One grizzly and one brown tied parachute

Tail:         Moose hair


Instruction:  Tie on the tail and wrap tread forward to tie on the wing in post form. Tie on the body along the shank to the bend and leave a flair past the bend but not to the end of the tail. Wrap forward creating a cross pattern of thread and tie in hackle parachute style and form a clean head.

Note:  This fly brings out the lunkers and is extremely effective at dusk and later.



Category Archives: Fly Patterns

Pheasant Tail Nymph Video

This is a great tutorial. Note especially the use of the pheasant tail fibers for both the shellback and legs.

Category Archives: Fly Patterns

There is a difference between rabbit strips


Just to clear the air and make preparations easier; crosscut rabbit strips (or other soft fur) are cut to wind on a hook and have the fur flow toward one side of the strip and wind on the hook without l-bathaving to tie it down to achieve direction.  A zonker, is a strip that has the knap of the fur lay on top of the strip in the same direction as the strip is cut and is best used for a one piece rib or tail. (Note the tail vs the collar or body)

Hope this helps!



Category Archives: Fly Patterns

Thought of the day:

A successfully tied fly isn’t one that has the most “new material” tied on, it’s the one that catches fish! March Brown Wet

Category Archives: Fly Patterns


Z13[2]The Zonker is a great streamer that fishes well both in streams and ponds. It is effective for trout, bass, pike and other species.

Though this pattern has been around for years, I first tied one at the Michigan Fly Fishing Club when Al Haxton selected it as a featured fly.

Recipe:  Zonker

Hook:  Heavy 4x streamer hook.

Size:  2 – 10

Thread:  Black / Red

Body:  Mylar Piping (silver or gold)

Wing:  Zonker strip (light for silver piping / dark for gold)

Hackle:  Match wing

* weight the fly with lead or equivalent wire tied traditionally over 2/3 of shank.

Though this pattern calls for few parts, it can be cumbersome to tie until you’ve tied a couple and gotten used to the technique.



  1. Wrap lead wire on shank of hook and tie down with thread making sure to secure the lead. Leave room to tie down wing, piping and hackle in front of the wire and behind the eye. Tie off and cut thread.
  2. Cut a piece of piping about an 1/2 inch longer than the hook, remove stuffing and fray one end, then slide the hook into the piping un-frayed end toward the back. Tie down behind the eye.
  3. Cut a point on the front of the zinker strip – make sure the grain of the fur flows toward the rear of the fly – and tie it behind the eye.
  4. Wrap 2 – 3 turns of hackle and tie off then whip finish.
  5. Lift the zonker and pull it out of the way as you push the piping forward, causing the body to swell and tie it off at the bend of the hook. (with a light colored zonker and silver piping, use red thread to tie down the rear.)
  6. Pull the zinker strip back over the top of the shank, separate the fibers at the bend where you tied in the piping, tie it down and whip finish.
  7. Trim the frayed portion of the piping protruding past the bend to about 1/4 inch and trim the zonker strip to about 1 inch behind the bend.

Good stuff!


Category Archives: Fly Patterns

Easy egg patterns.

My friend Rich Merlino made this video a couple of years ago. It is one of the best demonstrations I’ve seen on how to tie an egg pattern. Enjoy.

Category Archives: Fly Patterns

Who says an old dog can’t learn new tricks?

I’ve been tying – or trying to tie – egg sucking leeches. All that is, is an egg tied to the front of a hook followed by a woolly bugger. And both patterns are simple when tied separately, but for the life of me, I’m spending three times as long tying the pattern. After watching a u-tube video, I learned an easier way of tying an egg sucking leech.

You can buy pom-poms of all different sizes and colors at most craft stores, like Michaels. For pennies, you can get an entire bag of different colored pom-poms that can be slid onto a hook after tying a base of thread and covering it with glue. Simple. Then just tie a wooly bugger behind the egg. And, it’s cheaper than buying material for eggs.


Category Archives: Fly Patterns

Muddler Minnow




The muddler minnow was first tied by Don Gapen in the 30’s. It was slightly different than today’s patterns. (I say patterns because like all fly patterns, there are as many ways to tie them as there are flies.) What remains constant about the Muddler, is its ability to produce large trout consistently in lakes, rivers or streams.



Hook: Streamer size 2 – 10.

Thread: Brown 6/0 for the back half of the fly and 3/0 for the front.

Tail: Mottled turkey feather.

Body: Gold tinsel or braid.

Under Wing: Squirrel tail.

Over Wing: Mottled turkey feather.

Collar: Deer hair.

Head: Spun deer hair, shaped to a cone – flat on bottom.


Directions: Tie in two matched sections of a mottled turkey feather. Wrap tinsel or braid forward leaving ¼ of the hook bare. Wrap back and forward once more and tie off. Tie on a sparse clump of squirrel tail extending halfway over the tail. Tie on matched turkey feather sections extending halfway over the tail. At this point whip finish and switch to the 3/3 thread. Tie in a clump of deer hair collar style and two more clumps of deer hair, spin, tie off and cut to shape, leaving a collar from the first clump.


One of the best videos I’ve seen for Muddler Minnow tying instructions is: www.globalflyfisher.com/video/muddler-minnow.

Category Archives: Fly Patterns

Wooly Bugger

Wooly bugger


If there is such a thing as a perfect universal fly that produces almost any species of fish, the wooly bugger is on the short list. From panfish to steelhead and salmon, buggers tied in various colors, sizes – weighted or not – are a go-to pattern when nothing else entices or when streamers are the order of the day.

A simple tie – probably the first pattern most of us learned how to tie – wooly buggers are only limited to a tiers imagination.


Hook: 2x streamer 6 – 14

Thread: Match to color of body

Tail: Marabou

Body: Chenille, yarn or like substance

Ribbing: Soft hackle – palmered

Collar: Hackle to match

This streamer can be tied with a cone head or the body weighted with lead wire to get it down. It can also be left un-weighted and let sink naturally like an emerger. Great for panfish and crappie. Tie on an egg ahead of the collar and you have an egg sucking leech.


Category Archives: Fly Patterns

Ephoron (White Fly)



Hook – standard dry
Size – #14
Thread – white 8/0
Tail – white micro tails (3)
Body – white dry fly dubbing
Hackle – sparse cream hackle parachute style around white high-vis post


Ephron, White Fly, White Miller …This is a good generic pattern that works well during the evening hatch in September. Tie it in several sizes and get ready for some fast action when the hatch is on.

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