Pattern Bunny patterns...

I have never fished or tied with rabbit zonker strips, until I recently starting tying flies for a trip to AK this summer. I am tying flesh flies in white, pink, orange, chartreuse, and purple. I really like tying these as they are simple and I would think will really have a lot of action when under water. I am just tying the strip in at the bend with a short section out the back, wrapping forward over lead and whip finish. Couldn't be easier.
So I did a search to see what other patterns use rabbit strips and obviously I come up with zonkers and bunny leaches (which seem a lot like the flesh flies). I also saw a double bunny that S Behn had tied with two strips back to back which looked great.
My question is how many of you tie with rabbit zonker strips and what other patterns are you using for trout here in the NW? Are you fishing them in lakes or rivers, both? Are these attractors where colors don't matter or do you find particular colors work better than others.
Thanks for your thoughts.

mike doughty

Honorary Member
I tie a lot with bunny strips and one way i like to tie them is to tie in at the bend and instead of wrapping the bunny forward tie in some cactus chennile or dub a nice body then pull the bunny over that, kind of matuke style, tie it down, trim off the excess, then make a couple of wraps with a schlappen hackle, for me usually a different color. then to finish you can either tie it off or add some chain or balz eyes.


Ryan Haseman
I like using 2 different cuts of it. Get some cross-cut and zonker style strips. I use the zonker for the tail and wrap the body with the cross cut. It is the shizzle :thumb:
Thanks guys,
Mike: is the chain eyes for looks or does it turn the fly over like a clouser? That is a nice looking fly. Do you only use that for steelhead or do you fish a smaller version for trout?

Sixfinger: I am guessing the crosscut is simplycutting the skin a different direction? How does this change the fly or change your tying?


Ryan Haseman
Its cut perpendicular to the grain of the hair instead of parallel. It lays down better when you are wrapping it around the shank. (also when you only tie in a peice of zonker at the end of the shank I think it gives the tail more action, yet it maybe less "sturdy" after awhile) IMO

mike doughty

Honorary Member
mediger said:
Thanks guys,
Mike: is the chain eyes for looks or does it turn the fly over like a clouser? That is a nice looking fly. Do you only use that for steelhead or do you fish a smaller version for trout?Mike
the eyes will usually turn the fly upside down and it will add weight to your fly. i have ties smaller and in different colors for trout.
El pelo del conejo es uno de mis materiales preferidos.

Oops, lo siento, I'm studying for a Spanish test and I needed a break.

Again. Rabbit fur is one of favorite materials.

sixfinger said:
Its cut perpendicular to the grain of the hair instead of parallel.
I've tried cutting a full hide and politely might I say that I believe it's cross cut at a 45 if you're thinking of doing this.

As to patterns, Zonkers rock but I also like just plain Bunny Leeches tied only with cross cut fur.
Thanks for the thoughts guys. I tried several variations matuka style like you suggested Mike, with different colors of chenille and will hopefully give them a try soon.
Do not forget you can cut some fur off the strip and use just the long fur fibers in flies as well. A little white makes a great wings with lots of movement for different wet flies. Keep the under fur to make your own dubbing. See my fly in the leech swap for another example of the fur cut away from the hide. I ended up with enough under fur from tying the 14 flies for the swap to fill one compartment of dubbing in my dubbing box.
Look at the "Samuri" patterns. a wooly bugger with a strip tied in at the head and dresses back over the fly when wet....They tie a neat tail for a sculpin, and are popular that way too
Thanks guys. I tied several variations with purple backs, varius chenile bodys tied matuka style like mike doughty suggested, and a double bunny with purple on top and white on bottom, and fished them at a local lake last week with out a tug. Probably to cold for the streamers, but I will keep experimenting. Thanks for your help.
Along with double bunnies you can tie a poormans' GP, string leeches, matuka streamers as mentioned above. I like tying my matuka streamers using mylar piping in pearl color. If you haven't used it yet give it a try. Here is a few examples...

As you can see, rabbit strips can be used in a number of ways, all promising: as tails, wings, bellies (the Double Bunny), etc.

A current favorite working steelhead pattern of mine (meaning that it's fast and easy to tie, and works fine) is the O.C. (obsessive-compulsive) Lab (named for an overly friendly black Labrador, who wouldn't stay away from my backcasts, until it ended up with a barbed 1/0 in its flank). Tail: red hackle fibers, body (rear half): gold Diamondbraid. (These two elements aren't essential; they may not be visable in the water). Body, front half: purple maribou, wound on spider-style. Wing: black bunny strip, hook shank length, tied in just at the front. In the water, it lays neatly on top of the maribou. Eyes (optional), bead chain or hour-glass machined, under the head, so hook stays upright in the water.