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Lead Eye Pine Squirrel

Phil Lilley

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Lead Eye Pine Squirrel

Jeremy Hunt


Hook: TMC 3769 sizes 6-12

Thread: UTC 70 color to match body

Body: Pine squirrel strip

Tail: same as body

Eyes: presentation eyes

Tying Instructions

This is a very simple fly to tie , but very effective in streams and rivers fishing for warm water fish as well as trout. I have had a lot of luck on this fly fishing the James River and the Current River. I hope you have as much fun with this pattern as I do.






A lot of people do this step differently I have done it that way to. I would like to teach you how I came about doing the correct way so that they do not shift on you. I know glue can do the trick, but tying them on correctly is just as important. If you notice how I start them, I turn the eye at an angle so I can grab it with my thread. I do about three turns just to secure it and do the same amount of turns on the other side. This is just to secure them so that you at least have them tied on the shank. You can add glue at this time before you start all you’re thread wraps. This will allow the glue to cinch into the thread wraps. After you get them started, wrap you’re thread in a figure eight without going one direction with the thread. The key is not to tie in one direction the entire time then shift and do the same thing on the other side. That will make you’re eye’s loose and not really secured on the hook shank. Once you fill you have done enough wraps turn the fly over and repeat the same process on the underside of the lead eyes. Turn the fly back over and post the eyes going around the top of the shank, but going under the eyes. This will tighten any loose wraps that you might have.



Grab you a long piece of the squirrel strip and split the hair on the hide. Where you split the hair is going to be where you tie it at the back for a tail. Once you have tied it in securely you are ready to advance you thread to the eye of the hook.




Palmer the squirrel strip up, making each wrap side by side without overlapping the hide. This will force you’re hair to look like you tied it down instead of having the hair look flared.



Once you get to the front just behind the eyes, you are going t figure eight the squirrel strip around the eyes. You should start you’re first wrap around the eye wrapping away from you.

Then once you have done the figure eight you will do one turn in front of the eye. Make sure you leave enough room for this step when tying in you’re eyes.


Whip finish the fly and glue the eye and your finished.



Lead Eye Pine Squirrel

Lilleys Landing logo 150.jpg

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He is so cute - he just screams EAT ME to all fish.

I love this pattern for smallies! (thanks Joe from Wapsi)

happy tying - Brian

Just once I wish a trout would wink at me!


I'm the guy wearing the same Simms longbilled hat for 10 years now.

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  • 1 year later...

Thanks Phil and Jeremy for sharing the detailed recipe.

I have tied the pine squirrel but a little diferently. I can see where this might be better. I also add a little tail of sculpin maribo to the bottom end of the hook that sets adjacent to the hide side of the tail.

Tonight when I watch the Cards beat Arizona and move into first place I will try tieing a couple of these for my next trip in November. If I can wait that long. GEE retirement is wonderful.

Hopefully both of my above stated goals will be achieved successfully


Thom Harvengt

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