The Brass Zebra is a mash-up of 2 popular trout flies. The Brassie and the Zebra Midge. This design is credited to Dan Liechty, but there are some other similar flies out in the world.
The fly is quite simple but can be tied using different colors of wire. You’ll just want to make sure you keep the colors contrasting so that you keep the “zebra” effect. Black with gold, silver, orange, or chartreuse all works well.
For the thorax, natural peacock works well, but you can use Ice Dubbing or Diamond Dubbing to give the fly a slightly different look and a little more durability.
Fish this pattern near the bottom of creeks and rivers or it also works well as a stillwater fly suspended under a strike indicator.
Brass Zebra Fly Pattern recipe
Hook: Mustad C49s #10-16
Bead: Gold tungsten or brass
Thread: Black 6/0 (140d)
Body: 1 strand red Ultrawire & 2 strands black Ultrawire
Thorax: Peacock herl or dubbing
Love it or loathe it, the Squirmy Wormie has wiggled its way into countless fly bins around the world. As you’ll see, the fly is really quite simple to tie, but this squishy material poses a few problems that need a bit of experience to overcome. The Squirmy is a cousin to the infamous San Juan Worm. Mike from Wooly Bugged has a version which uses a high contrasting color of brass bead. This acts as an additional trigger for trout and panfish. You can watch Mike pickup a few in the video below.
First off, the material can be a little delicate. I find the strength can vary a little bit package to package, but it is highly elastic and quite lively. Secondly, it may be a little tough to position properly on the hook shank. I’ve found that adding a base layer of thread, tying the material in at the side and by stretching it while using a pinch wrap help to position the worm in the proper position. Lastly, it doesn’t work well with glues and adhesives. Some glues just don’t hold on while others will eat through it. It’s best just to make a couple secured whip finishes. You’ll also want to keep them out of the heat and store them in a cool dark spot.
I tie the Pyramid Lake Woolly Worm a little bit different from the ones from Jan Nemec, but they are essentially the same pattern. The chartreuse and black variation are referred to as the Northern Lights color. It’s a good choice for fishing water where the clarity isn’t optimal. You get a pop of color and a great looking silhouette streaming through the water.
Pyramid Lake in Nevada (not the one in Jasper, Alberta) is home to a threatened strain of cutthroat trout called the Lahontan. The Lahontan cutthroat is native to the drainages of the Truckee River, Humboldt River, Carson River, Walker River, Quinn River and several smaller rivers in the Great Basin of North America.
The fly is heavily hackled and uses 2 hackles palmered together over the Estaz body. I like to use hackles that are quite webby at the base and that may pass for schlappen. I like to add the reverse wrapped rib for a little added protection from the trout’s teeth. The 20lb plus cutthroats can really do a number on the stems of the hackle.
The fly is fished on a sinking line and is tied unweighted so that it doesn’t dig into the sandy bottom of the lake, but rather bounces over the bottom.
In addition to being a good Cutthroat Trout fly, this Woolly Worm variation is great for steelhead and even pike and bass.
Pyramid Lake Woolly Worm Fly pattern recipe
Hook: Mustad R75-79580 #2-8
Thread: 140d Black 6/0
Tail: Chartreuse marabou or saddle hackle fluff
Rib: Small chartreuse Ultrawire
Body: Fl. Green Opal Estaz
Hackle: 2 Black saddle hackles