By Nick Simonson
Anywhere big fish eat little fish, you’ll find room for the Clouser minnow. Kept simple and sparse, it moves freely in the water and is dynamite on bass, panfish, trout, pike and other piscivorous species. Customize to confidence colors or the hues of baitfish in your waters and you’ll have a selection of streamers that have been time-tested and proven effective on anything you angle for with the long rod this season.
Hook: TMC 3407 Size 6 to 1/0
Thread: White 3/0
Weight: Dumbell Eyes
Underwing: White Bucktail
Lateral Line: Krystal Flash
Overwing: Colored Bucktail
Start the Clouser minnow by securing the hook in the vise and laying down a layer of thread. Create two small rises with some extra wraps of thread, these will form a bracket of sorts to help hold the dumbbell eyes in place. Tie in the dumbbell eyes with a series of figure-eight wraps and add a small drop of superglue to secure them in place so they ride on the top of the hook shank and don’t shift, noting that the “top” of the shank will be the bottom of the fly in the water (1). Next, select a pinch of white bucktail that is two-to-three times as long as the hook and secure it in front of the eyes and behind them with thread wraps (2).
Flip the fly over and tie in a few strands of krystal flash that are the same length as the white bucktail, securing them back to the eyes and up to the hook eye with multiple thread wraps (3). Next select a pinch of colored bucktail (here, gray) and tie it in over the krystal flash for the streamer’s overwing (4). Create a solid thread head by covering the colored bucktail with enough thread wraps so it can’t easily be seen, then whip finish behind the hook eye and add a drop of head cement to the thread head and front of the dumbbell eyes to secure everything in place (5).
The Clouser minnow works all openwater season on many popular species. When crappies are staging to spawn or staking out their stands in shallow reedbeds, it can be worked in a slow darting motion to trigger the wariest slab. In orange and brown and worked on a sinking line, it’s a killer crayfish pattern and will trigger smallmouth bass all summer long. When white bass are gorging on late-summer minnow schools, it’s an unbeatable pattern when stripped rapidly through their frenzy. You might even manage a river walleye or two in the right conditions with one – a feat on the fly rod for sure! Tie a bunch up to share and tally the number of fish and species you rack up this season on the Clouser minnow!
Featured Photo: Craft Clouser minnows in a variety of colors for all of your favorite fish and waters! Simonson Photo.