The Zoo Cougar is a very effective sculpin version of a muddler minnow.

These sculpins are very attractive to large fish in the Yukon. I am certain that pike, lake trout, bull trout, rainbow, Dolly Varden, salmon, inconnue, Arctic char and even burbot will eat these sculpins and attack this Zoo Cougar streamer.

Slimy sculpins are found in most Yukon rivers, streams and lakes and are an important food source for larger fish and birds.

Many Yukon fly fishermen already find sculpin imitations to be very effective flies for lake trout.

I have tied this fly unweighted. Fish this fly on a sink tip or sinking fly line. Due to its buoyancy, it will rise to the surface; when you retrieve it with short pulls, the fly will appear to be darting toward the bottom. What large fish could resist this easy meal?

The hardest part of tying this fly is shaping the head to get the flat torpedo shape.

There are many colour variations to this very productive fly.

The first picture shows three different coloured zoo cougar flies: olive, chocolate brown, and black.

RECIPE

Hook: Mustad 9671 Size 2

Thread: Black 6/0 Unithread

Tail: Yellow marabou

Body: Pearl poly glimmer

Wing: Mallard flank feather (dyed olive) tied flat over white kip tail

Collar: Deer hair (dyed olive) tied short on top

Head: Spun deer hair (dyed olive) trimmed to a flat torpedo shape

TYING THE ZOO COUGER

Step 1

Make a good base by wrapping thread over the hook shank.

Tie in the marabou.

Tie in the poly glimmer, wrap forward a little more than half of the hook and tie off. Remember that all sculpin have a pearl white belly. Leave enough space for the deer hair collar and head.

Step 2

Tie in the white kip tail as long as the marabou.

Step 3

Select a large mallard flank feather and tie in flat on top of the hook enveloping the kip tail and body.

This feather should be as long as the marabou.

The white kip tail underneath supports the mallard feather.

Step 4

Stack a bunch of deer hair, trim to a short length and tie in holding on top.

These short, protruding hairs represent the pectoral fins.

Step 5

Tie in small batches of deer forward to the hook eye.

Trim to create a large tapered torpedo head.

The head should be wide and flat.

Bruce Ross has been hooked on fly fishing and tying his own flies since the early 1970s and has fished throughout Canada and the US. Contact him at robert.bruce.ross@northwestel.net.

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