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Columbia-Greene Trout Unlimited Chapter #569

New York State's Catskill Region

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Fly of the Month – July 2009

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Muddler Minnow

From "Hank's Fly Box" - June 2008


Tying Goal:    To demonstrate the matching of turkey quill wing segments. 

                       To acquaint the tier with stacking, spinning and shaping deer hair.


Comments:    This fly is an imitation of the cockatouche, a sculpin-like minnow.  The fly can be fished wet or dry.  The deer hair is hollow and buoyant.  Deer hair is also used to tie bass bugs and to imitate mice.


                       The Muddler Minnow was invented in 1937 by Don Gapen, Sr., the manager of the Canadian Pacific Railway Hotel at Nipigon Station on the Nipigon River in Ontario. 


Additional Comments: 


The 14 ½ pound world record brook trout was caught on the Nipigon River in 1915 by Dr. John William Cook on a live cartouche.


Reference:  Page 23, Universal Fly-Tying Guide by Dick Stewart, 1994




Size 2-14, 2X or 3X streamer hook


Brown 3/0


Underwing of gray squirrel tail and overwing of paired sections of speckled

turkey quill, tied on edge


Mottled or speckled turkey quill


Gold Mylar

Spun gray/brown deer body hair


Spun gray/brown deer body hair, clipped to form a head




Directions For Tying:

    • Start a jam knot with the thread just behind the eye of the hook.  Wrap the hook shank all the way down stopping where the hook shank begins to bend.
    • Cut a 3/16” wide segment from a turkey wing quill.  Tie the quill in with the quill curving down.  The tail should be about the width of the hook gap long.  Keep the excess quill on top of the shank and wind the thread forward to about 1/3 the length of the hook shank behind the eye.
    • Tie in a piece of gold Mylar and wind the Mylar to the rear.  Reverse and wind back toward the eye.  Tie off the Mylar and cut the excess.
    • Select a bunch of gray squirrel tail about the size of a match.  Tie in the squirrel tail at the Mylar tie-off point.  Trim the butt ends and apply a drop of cement.  The underwing should extend to the tip of the tail.
    • Cut matched segments, about 3/8” wide, from a pair of speckled turkey wing quills.  Tie them on the top of the hook shank, concave sides together, at the same tie-in point as the Mylar and the underwing.
    • Cut a bunch of deer hair from the hide by holding the hair by the tips.  Discard the under hair.  Stack a small pencil-sized bunch of this natural gray/brown deer body hair in a hair stacker to even the tips.
    • Form a collar by tying on each side of the wing a matchstick-sized bunch of the stacked deer hair with the tips pointing toward the tail.  The deer hair flairs when the thread loop is tightened.  This collar should be the same length as the turkey wing.  Push (or pack) the butt ends of the deer hair toward the rear of the hook with your fingers or a packing tool and advance the thread toward the eye.
    • Tie on another bunch of stacked deer hair with a loose thread loop.  Tightening the loop will spin the deer hair around the shank of the hook and cause the deer hair to flair.  Make a few more thread wraps to secure the hair.  Pack the deer hair by pushing it toward the tail of the fly with your fingers or a packing tool.
    • Repeat the previous step until you reach the eye.  Tie off with a whip finish knot or several half hitches and apply a drop of cement to the wraps.
    • Using scissors (or a razor) shape the deer hair to form a head while being careful not to cut the collar.  




Muddler Minnow  


Bloody Muddler







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