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Trout Streamers / Zonkers

Zonker and other Streamer Flies for Trout

If you want to tempt the bigger trout in your local waters at different times of year then fishing streamer flies is a good way to grab their attention. Trout are predators from birth, but as they mature they not only seek out bigger prey but also become more territorial and aggressive. Streamers such as the Zonker imitate larger and faster-moving food, and that can mean exciting action from trout in their prime, no matter the weather or season.

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More on fishing Streamers for Big Trout & Steelhead

Mature Rainbow Trout average a foot and a half, Brook Trout regularly reach two feet, and in some areas it’s not unheard of for Brown Trout to grow to lengths of three and a half feet. The biggest Steelhead sometimes reach four feet. All of them will eat far more than insects as they become adults: smaller fish up to a third their own size (including juveniles from their own species sometimes), frogs and other amphibians, and even small mammals such as voles. Fishing streamers calls for a more active technique called ‘stripping’ where short tugs on the line make the fly mimic the actions of a small fish or other animal darting to and fro.

More about the Zonker fly concept

Dan Byford might not have been the first to think of using a strip of rabbit fur in a fishing fly, but (if nothing else) he deserves credit for being the first to create a pattern with fur that was widely recognized as a success. Before he tied his first Zonker in 1975, most streamer flies used bucktail and feathers. The key to a Zonker is the fur: once waterlogged, it undulates when the fly is stripped and retrieved at speed and the body of the fly appears to wriggle. As with other ‘eureka’ moments in fly-tying, the Zonker concept has continued to evolve: today, the fur may be dyed different colors, and can also come from mink or fox.

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