9 zonker fly patterns to tie

Zonker fly patterns are great for picking out larger trout, as well as pike. Here are nine easy ones to tie.

9 zonker fly patterns to tie
Picture copyright © Fly and Lure
9 zonker fly patterns to tie
Picture copyright © Fly and Lure
9 zonker fly patterns to tie
Estimated reading time 4 - 7 minutes

What is a zonker fly?

A zonker is a fly made from a strip of fur. The strips are known as zonker strips and they have the hide attached. Once waterlogged, this softens and create a fly with bulk that pulsates when retrieved. It's great for larger flies, such as streamers and pike fly patterns.

What are zonker strips?

Zonker strips are usually made from rabbit fur cut longitudinally so the fur lays flat. However, you can also get cross cut zonker strips which are cut in the opposite direction and which are better suited to wrapping around the body of the fly.

Browns love to smash a zonker.

Is rabbit the only material used?

No, zonker strips are typically rabbit, but they can also be made from squirrel (especially pine squirrel) and also mink, but these are generally called mink strips.

Pine squirrel strips are smaller and better suited to smaller fly patterns. Mink strips are much more mobile than rabbit, and when tied they result in flies generally known as minkies. Minkies and zonkers are much the same - only the material differs.

How do you fish a zonker?

Zonkers are very versatile and can be fished in many different ways. They're usually weighted with a bead or conehead and sometimes use a leaded underbody to get them down into the deeper water. This helps add extra movement to the fly and means they can be fished in deeper water from a floating line.

They also work well unweighted on a floater or an intermediate. Trout and pike will often smash them off the top when they're first cast out and if you fish them on an intermediate or sinking line and let the line pull the buoyant fly beneath the surface fish will often take them on the drop.

Retrieve speeds don't need to be fast either. Trout will take them when they're suspended and motionless, but they also love them when they're stripped back at speed.

Streamer Zonker fly


Hook: Streamer hook
Head: 3.25mm tungsten bead
Butt: Red wool
Rib: Copper wire
Body: XL Hare Dubbing in Light Olive
Throat: UV Orange Ice Dubbing
Tail: Natural squirrel zonker strip
Hackle: Hare dubbing brush

White Deadly Streamer Zonker fly


Hook: Streamer hook
Underbody: Lead wire
Body: Silver mylar tubing
Throat: UV Orange Ice Dubbing
Tail: White zonker strip
Hackle: Webby white hackle

Crystal Zonker fly


Hook: Streamer hook size 4-10
Bead: Tungsten cone bead
Body: Purple cactus chenille
Throat: Purple saddle hackle
Tail: Purple zonker strip and crystal flash

Baitfish Streamer Zonker fly


Hook: Streamer hook
Underbody: Lead wire
Body: Silver mylar tubing
Throat: Red saddle hackle
Tail: Natural zonker strip

Micro Pine Squirrel Zonker fly


Hook: SFT streamer hook
Bead: 4mm silver tungsten bead
Rib: Silver wire
Body: Cream dubbing
Flash: Angelina silver flash
Tail: Micro pine squirrel zonker strip

Fish Mask Streamer Zonker fly


Hook: Size 6 long streamer hook
Head: 6mm FishSkull Fish Mask
Thread: White
Body:  Minnow belly dubbing
Hackle: Red schlappen
Tail: Rabbit zonker strip

Strip Streamer Zonker fly


Hook: Streamer hook
Thread: Black
Body: Cross cut zonker strip
Head: Epoxy and eyes
Tail: Rusty rabbit zonker strip

Stickleback Zonker fly


Hook: Size 4 Tiemco 811S hook
Thread: White
Underbody: Lead wire
Throat: Orange SLF dubbing
Body: Olive SLF dubbing
Head: Epoxy and eyes
Tail: Barred rabbit zonker strip

Rusty Olive Zonker fly


Hook: Size 4 Tiemco 811S hook
Thread: White
Underbody: Lead wire
Throat: Dubbed rabbit fur
Body: Olive dubbing, wire
Head: Conehead bead
Flash: Crystal flash
Tail: Barred rabbit zonker strip

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