Insects and other foods the trout may be eating:
1. Blue-winged Olives
2. Little Yellow Quills (Heptagenia Group) (slight chance)
3. Needle Stoneflies (slight chance)
4 Great Brown Autumn Sedge (slight chance)
6. Sculpin, Minnows (Streamers)
Fishing Streamers In The Smokies - Zonkers
One of the better standard generic streamer fly patterns that has been around for years, and one
that was first created here in the United States, is the Zonker. Mr. Dan Byford is given for the fly. It's
basically a minnow shaped fly but it also looks a lot like a leech. As most of you know, I'm not much in
favor of using age old fly patterns any more than I am T Model ford automobiles for transportation. In
the case of the Zonker, I've found that the fly pattern rather effective.
During the 70's, at the time Mr. Byford came up with the Zonker, streamers were tied using feathers
and hair. Most of them still are. Using a strip of rabbit fur for main part of the fly was completely new
at that time. Even so, it was quickly discovered that the rabbit fur gave the fly a very natural
swimming movement. When the fly gets wet, it just seems to add to the natural undulating movement
rather than take away from it. Even more important to many anglers is the fact that a wing made for
rabbit fur turned out to be much more durable than one made from a feather and even quite a bit
more durable than one made from hair.
Mr. Byford's first Zonker fly patterns used metal sheeting that was folded over the hook to imitate the
shinny belly of baitfish. The rabbit strip imitated the darker back of baitfish. Also, the combination of
the two distinctly different materials imitates the very noticeable lateral line that exist between the
back and the belly of most all baitfish. Black-nosed Dace, stcklebacks, sucker like baitfish, juvenile
whitefish and trout, various shad minnows, and most other baitfish and minnows have a dark shaded
back and a light, near white colored belly. The silver or gold metal body of his Zonker strongly
contrasts with the darker shaded strip of rabbit fur and does an excellent job of mimicking this
common characteristic. For the past few years, fly tyers have been using mylar tubing in gold and
silver colors to imitate the belly part of baitfish and minnows. The weave pattern of the Mylar tubing
does remind you of fish scales.
As with most all flies, various "attractor" versions of the Zonker appeared on the market. Bright
yellows, chartreuse, red and other flashy colored material has been used to tie Zonkers. I guess it is
thought that If some of them aren't effective in "attracting" gamefish, they should be effective in
scaring the gamefish enough to cause them to try to "kill" the fly. As I mentioned in previous articles
on streamer fishing, trout are very territorial and will they will usually defend their territory against
other intruding fish.
When your fishing a Zonker style fly, you should try to imitate a smaller baitfish or minnow trying to
escape. If the stream has undercut banks, try to let the fly drift under the bank, as deep as you can
get it to drift. Once it's under the bank, try stripping it out fast.
If that doesn't work, and you can get the fly to drift parallel with the bank, try varying the retrieve from
fast to slow as it passes along the bank. Strip the fly and then pause it for a moment. Don't strip it a
foot at a time. Just a couple of inches is all you need.
You an also make the Zonker come alive by stripping it in a zigzag manner. Just flicker the tip of your
fly rod left to right. This will make the fly swim in an erratic fashion with a zigzagging motion. This
works good below dams where baitfish become injured and killed by the turbines. This often happens
in very cold weather when there's a shad kill.
Copyright 2011 James Marsh