How to Tie the Muddler Minnow Fly
Learn how to tie the Muddler Minnow pattern including step-by-step instructions, a video tutorial, pictures, and much more. Improve your fly tying skills here.
Trident Fly Fishing is a full-service fly shop. We spend a lot of time testing gear and writing reviews to give you all of the tools to make your next trip a success. We are not a blog or a review site. 100% of our funding comes from your gear purchases, so if this blog post helps you on your next fly fishing adventure, please support us by buying your gear from us.
The Muddler Minnow was first tied in 1936 by Don Gapen and is still a popular choice for anglers worldwide. Renowned for its versatility, this iconic streamer pattern imitates various prey, including sculpins, chubs, suckers, and even grasshoppers. Break out the deer hair and follow along as Levi shows the step-by-step directions needed to tie this effective pattern.
- Hook: Ahrex NS110 S/E Size 4
- Thread: Danville 3/0 - Peach T
- Tail: Oak Mottled Turkey
- Quill Body: UTC Holographic Flat Tinsel (size: medium; color: gold)
- Ribbing: UNI-French Oval Tinsel (size: small; color: gold)
- Underwing: Gray Squirrel Tail
- Wing: Oak Mottled Turkey Quill
- Collar: Deer Body Hair (color: natural)
- Head: Deer Body Hair (color: natural)
Starting with the tail section, remove six feathers from each of the turkey quill's wings. Place matching feathers on top of one another, then position them on the shank's rear. The feather's tips should point down and outward. Secure the quills with a pinch wrap, then run the thread approximately 70 percent up the shank.
It is essential to give the Muddler Minnow a smooth underbody before working with the tinsel material. Running the thread along the shank several times will help clean the pattern up.
Beginning with the round tinsel, place the material on the shank's side and run the thread over it. Next, put the flat tinsel facing the silver side down on top of the round tinsel. Again, run the thread over the tinsel. Wrap the flat tinsel up the shank, tie it down, and cut the remaining material off. Repeat this step with the round tinsel.
The grey squirrel material will help support the wing section. Cut out a small pinch of symmetrical hairs and place the fibers on top of the shank at the 70 percent mark. Tie them on, then cut the forward-facing material off.
For the wings, clip two symmetrical feathers from the turkey quill off. Next, place the feathers together and tie them on at the center of the shank. Clip the outward-facing material off and add thread to the underbody section to smooth things out.
For the head of the fly, break out the deer hair. Clip off a large clump of fiber and remove most of the underfur. Tie the material right below the hook's eye, with roughly 20 percent of the deer hair facing the bend. Pull the forward-facing material down and tie the strands.
For the final tying step, remove a pencil's width of fiber from the deer hair. Clip the tips off and brush out the underfur. Run the thread around the center of the material with even wraps. Be sure to twist the material while tying gently. Run the thread through the fur up to the eye, make several more wraps, then secure a whip finish.
To finish the fly, trim the deer hair. Remember, if you cut too much off, it is impossible to add more! Be sure to work in small sections, clipping off a few strands at a time. After trimming and straightening the deer hair out, the muddler is ready to hit the water!