I’ve been fishing streamers
for as long as I’ve been
fly fishing. When I was young,
my father fished only streamer
patterns with his fly rod--no
nymphs or wets, no dries, just
streamers. And the first flies
he taught me to tie, the first
flies I used to catch trout, were
simple marabou streamers.
I still love to fish streamers.
It just seems magical when a flash
of reflected light suddenly appears
behind your streamer as it strips
through the water, and then you
feel the angry pull of a large
fish. You don’t need a perfect,
delicate, 7x tippet presentation.
Slapping a big streamer to the
water on 2x tippet will usually
work well. There are few subtleties
required when you fish streamers.
One of the streamers I now use
most often is the Zuddler. The
Zuddler was formed by taking two
great fly patterns, the Zonker
and the Muddler Minnow, and combining
them into a new fly. Joe Emery
and John Rode designed the Zuddler
for catching Great Lakes steelhead.
But I’ve used it to catch
many other fish species. Brown
trout, rainbow trout, steelhead,
small mouth bass, fallfish, carp,
suckers, rock bass, and even a
couple muskies have all been lured
into eating this great pattern.
Zuddlers can be tied in many colors.
My favorite is black, closely
followed by white and then olive,
but other color combinations will
also catch fish. The fly has many
elements in its construction.
And though I prefer to tie it
as its creators intended, you
can choose to leave out an ingredient
or two (such as the round rubber
legs) and the fly will still catch
I used a white Zuddler last Monday
to catch a fat 15” Penns
Creek brown trout. It was the
only fish I caught in an hour’s
fishing on a windy, snowy, 19
degree day. I knew I wouldn’t
be able to fish all day in the
brutal winter weather. But I really
felt the need to catch a fish
after not fishing for 10 days,
waiting for a break in the weather
that still hasn’t arrived.
My decision to tie on the Zuddler
is a testimony to my confidence
in this fly pattern.
The first time I fished a Zuddler
was on the Upper Delaware’s
Main Stem. I caught two memorable
fish that day, an 18” smallmouth
bass and a 21” brown trout,
on two consecutive casts. The
Zuddler was my lucky fly, catching
more fish than any of the streamers
my companions threw. And it has
brought me a lot of luck on many
fishing trips that followed. I
hope the Zuddler makes your next
fishing trip feel lucky too.
Hook: #2 - 8 Tiemco 5262 2XL Streamer
Thread: 6/0 Uni-thread - order
Tail: smolt blue Krystal Flash
Body: Pearl Chenille - order
Legs: medium round rubber - order
Throat: Red Acccent Flash - order
Wing: Zonker strip - order
Collar: tips from the spun deer
hair head - order
Head: spun deer hair - order