The Muddler Minnow was first tied by Minnesota angler Don Gapen in 1936 on the Ontario’s Nipigon River, where he owned a sportsmen’s resort. The fly was designed to catch the huge brook trout of the Nipigon, but variations of the fly have since caught hundreds of species, in fresh and salt water. Although most anglers consider it an imitation of a sculpin, you can fish the Muddler as a streamer, dead-drift it, or even grease it up as a grasshopper imitation.
When I first started working at American Angler, my mentor, Art Scheck once cracked that we could run an article on how to tie the Muddler Minnow in every issue and no one would complain—because so many tiers struggled with the pattern. Until you get the hang of it, working with matched turkey quills and especially spinning the deer hair can be pretty frustrating.
Lucky for you, Tim Flagler of Tightline Productions has excellent solution for these problems, as well as a few tricks for making the whole tying process easier. Here, you’ll learn how to use half a double-edge razor to cut the turkey quills, how to attach them so they stay straight, how to spin deer hair to make the collar and head (using a Krazy Straw, no less), and how to use your bobbin head to tie off the fly .
Hook: 3X-long nymph hook (here a Dai-Riki #710), size 10.
Thread 1: Dark Brown, UTC 70 denier.
Tails: Natural mottled turkey-wing quills, matched
Body: Gold Sparkle Braid.
Underwing: Gray squirrel tail.
Wing: Natural mottled turkey-wing quills, matched.
Adhesive: Head cement
Thread 2: Dark Brown, UTC 140-denier.
Collar and head: Natural brown deer hair.
Tools: Double-edge razor blades, Krazy Straw.