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The Clouser Minnow – An Oldie but Goodie

Posted on January 18 2016

How to tie the Deep Clouser Minnow Fly Pattern.
New is not always better. Photos: Kyle Shea.

We love to push the envelope when we’re at the vise, and like most fly tyers we’re always on the search for the next big fly pattern. However, today we’re taking a step back to pay tribute to one of the most versatile patterns of all time – The Clouser Minnow.

Originally designed for smallmouth bass in the late 80’s, the Clouser Minnow has caught fish all over the world in both fresh and salt water. In fact, we fish Clouser variations all the time for bonefish at Andros South.

However, one place they really shine is on our huge run of silver salmon at Alaska West. Our guests are often surprised to learn that when targeting coho many of our guides will choose a simple pink Clouser Minnow over many other commercial salmon patterns!  They work really, really well on our river, so today we thought we’d show you the finer points of tying them.

Clouser Deep Minnow – Tying Instructions

Although the Clouser Minnow is generally regarded as a simple pattern to tie, many tyers don’t utilize some of the original techniques used by Bob Clouser himself. Check out the step by step below for some tips on tying better looking Clousers.

Materials:

  • Hook: Daiichi 2141, sz. 2
  • Thread: UTC 140 Denier, White and Cerise
  • Eyes: Large Painted Lead Eyes, Pearl White
  • Tail/Body: White Bucktail
  • Wing: Hot Pink Bucktail
  • Flash: UV Pearl Krystal Flash
How to tie the Deep Clouser Minnow Fly Pattern.
Step 1: Starting with white thread (or any color matching what will be the belly of the fly), attach your thread and advance approximately 1/3 down the shank.
How to tie the Deep Clouser Minnow Fly Pattern.
Step 2: Tie in lead eyes using figure-eight wraps both over AND underneath the shank. This will keep the eyes from rolling around the shank.
How to tie the Deep Clouser Minnow Fly Pattern.
Step 3: Prepare a small clump of white bucktail roughly 2-2.5 times the length of the shank and catch in front of the eyes. Trimming your bucktail to length before tying in will allow for a clean tie in point.
How to tie the Deep Clouser Minnow Fly Pattern.
Step 4: Pull the bucktail tight over the lead eyes while advancing thread to behind the lead eyes. Using your thumb and forefinger, pinch the shank of the hook, thus holding the bundle of bucktail on top of the shank. This is very important as this causes the thread to compress the bucktail against itself, rather than around the shank, causing the fibers not to flare more than desired. Wrap the thread over the bucktail to approximately the point of the hook using light wraps of thread.
How to tie the Deep Clouser Minnow Fly Pattern.
Step 5: Wrap the thread forward in touching turns to create a smooth body and return the thread to just in front of the lead eyes. Whip finish and trim.
How to tie the Deep Clouser Minnow Fly Pattern.
Step 6: Turn the fly over in the vise, and attach thread the same color as the top wing of the fly (in this case, pink). Keep in mind this is how the fly will ride in the water (hook point up).
How to tie the Deep Clouser Minnow Fly Pattern.
Step 7: Double over a few strands of Krystal Flash and tie in just in front of the lead eyes. The flash should extend slightly longer than the bucktail.
How to tie the Deep Clouser Minnow Fly Pattern.
Step 8: Catch in a wing of pink bucktail in front of the lead eyes, roughly the same length as the tail. Make a few loose wraps of thread to start before increasing tension. This helps to keep the fibers from flaring.
How to tie the Deep Clouser Minnow Fly Pattern.
Step 9: Build a nice head, whip finish, and cement.

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