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Pine Squirrel Streamer Pattern & Tying Instructions

Fly Tying Recipe: Pine Squirrel Streamer
6X-long streamer hook (here a Lightning Strike ST5), size 4.
Brown-Olive, 6/0 or 140-denier.
Tail Support:
1/4-inch strip of brown craft foam.
Adhesive 1:
Tail and body:
Sculpin Olive pine-squirrel zonker strip.
Tying Thread.
Adhesive 2:
Head cement.
Show / Hide Pine Squirrel Streamer Transcript

Video Transcript:

The Pine Squirrel Streamer is a pattern that's as old as the hills, super easy to tie and above all else, remarkably effective, as you'll see later on in the video. I prefer them without added weight but you could certainly include wraps of lead wire, a cone head or even dumbbell eyes in this pattern.

For a hook, I like the Lightning Strike 6X long ST5 in a size 4. Be careful as these things are ridiculously sharp. For thread, 140 Denier Ultra thread in a brown olive is a good choice.

Start your thread on the hook shank an eye length behind the eye and get it secured before snipping off the tag. Although not absolutely essential, I like to use a 1/4 inch strip of brown craft foam to support the tail of the fly and keep it from fowling. Secure the foam to the top of the hook shank and take wraps all the way back to just above the barb. Really get the foam bound down and compressed on top of the hook. Using the bend of the hook as a guide for your scissors, snip the foam off square. This little nubbin is all that's needed to support the tail.

Zap-a-gap is a remarkable adhesive but can be difficult to control directly from the bottle. Instead, squeeze a few drops onto a sticky pad and then use your bodkin to pick up a small amount. Apply the Zap-a-gap to the top of the foam tail support.

The only other material for this fly is a single pine squirrel zonker. Although you can get them in small packs, I've found the full skins to be more economical. Snip a single full strip from the skin. This is a sculpin olive color and one of my favorites. Leaving about an inch long tail, separate the fur to expose the hide. Wetting your fingertips will help to do this.

Position the space just above the thread and push down to secure the hide to the tail support. Take several good tight turns of tying thread to anchor the zonker and then pull the strip back and take wraps forward all the way up to just behind the hook eye.

To really increase the fly's durability, go back to your little puddle of Zap-a-gap and once again use your bodkin to scoop up the adhesive. Apply this to both the top of the hook shank and the bottom. You'll notice some of it will absorb into the foam. Now begin making wraps with the zonker strip so the hide part contacts the adhesive. You need to be careful to keep the fur from getting in the Zap-a-gap. Just keep pulling it rearward as you go. When you reach the eye take several good tight wraps to secure the strip and then a few more in front to really lock it in place. You can then snip the strip off close.

Pull the fur back and take thread wraps to cover any exposed hide and form a head on the fly. With that done, do a 5 or 6 turn whip finish and snip your tying thread free. Finally, apply a liberal amount of head cement to the thread wraps, both top and bottom.

You can see how the foam pad will prevent the tail from getting fouled around the hook bend.

I think the natural markings on the fur definitely add something to this pattern, and as you can see it has a ton of movement when it's in the water. The Pine Squirrel Streamer works great any time of the day but is especially effective after the sun goes down. Large browns in particular seem to have a hard time resisting this fly when it's swung down and across with a few slow, short strips thrown in for good measure.