Pine squirrel strips used instead of bunny?

I was looking at a pattern online that called for a squirrel strip used as the trail. I've never used it and did a little research. It seems like a great alternative to bunny for small streams since the strips are generally thinner and the fur is shorter. In the past, I've cut bunny strips in half for small streamer patterns.

Anyone use pine squirrel for zonkers, leeches, etc? I'm wondering if it's more or less boiyent than bunny and how it moves in the water.

Maybe I've missed the boat and everyone is using this, but it's new to me!
I did buy some recently with an eye to using them for small, zonker-style streamers, especially in the salt for SRC and resident silvers. I have yet to tie with them, but research in UK fly boards show some good patterns and fairly good feedback.

In the same order, I got mink zonker strips as well. They have their own peculiarities and at least in the white version, seem to offer some translucence. I'd really like to try seal zonker strips, but of course, we can't buy those here. I ran across a sea trout pattern that used seal zonker, and it was impressive...

I'm going to tie a few flies tomorrow for an SRC trip Saturday. I should be able to give some feedback by then.


Active Member
Squirrel is a great substitute for rabbit on smaller patterns. If the hide is tanned properly it is as soft as rabbit and moves rather well. The guard hairs are slightly stiffer and shorter than rabbit. It is not commercially available in as many colors, and I have only seen it dyed ‘over natural’. This doesn’t provide the brilliant tones that you can find when white rabbit is dyed, but I like the more subtle tones for a lot of patterns.


The guys @ Pacific Flyfishers introduced me to those squirrel strips when I went to renew my supply of black mink strips.

The squirrel works really well on matuka and muddler hybrid patterns. The olive/brown squirrel muddler with light tan body was my most successful follow-up fly for steelies this summer - kicked a$$ on both sides of the mountains!:beer2:

Get some - you won't be disappointed!

I use it to tie small leaches for summer fish. It works the same as rabbit but keeps the profile smaller with the shorter hair. I tie them in black,purple and natural about 1 1/2-2" long and have great success with them. I am going to give them a try this winter if we ever get some low water conditions.

Richard E

Active Member
If the hide is tanned properly it is as soft as rabbit and moves rather well.
iagree And I've yet to find that properly tanned hide. I've purchased a fair quantity of pine squirrel hige packages, and the hide each time is a little stiffer than the rabbit. I was super jacked to get the pine squirrel becaue the colors looked so great, I loved the length of the hair, and was excited about the width of the strips. My experience is they don't swim as well as the rabbit strips, but they do seem OK.

I love the size and the hair density of the little leeches I tied with the squirrel strips.
Here is one of my favorite streamers tied with pine squirrel dyed olive as a wing. this is a sz. 8 4x hook.
Hey, just perusing these old posts and ran across your Olive Pine Squirrel Slumpbuster/Zonker/Muddler streamer. It looks completely fishy, with all the deadly streamer elements I've come to rely on for trout and salmon up here north of 60° --I'm surprised noone has commented on it. Is it your own pattern? Mind sharing some info on how to tie and fish it?


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It is my varaation of the standard matuka/muddler. I devopled this pattern when I was living in Montana to use as a dropper behind a larger streamer when casting to the bank while fishing from a boat. I also fish it alone and have had great results, stripping and swinging have both been succesfull!

i now live in the NW and have used this fly with great results on Searuns in the salt. I go against the grain and do not tye this pattern with weight of any kind. IMHO i like the action of the squirrel a lot more w/o out the weight. Here is the receipe, let me know how ya do.

Hook; Sz.8 4X long straight eye.
Tail; 4 strands olive krystal flash and squirrel strip.
Body; White angora yarn.
Rib; Brassie size wire in black or olive. Use this to bind down the wing.
Wing: Squirrel strip in your choice of color.
Thorax; Red dubbing.
Collar; Flared olive deer hair.
Head; Olive deer hair clipped, flat on top and bottom.