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Algonquin Park fly box: part one

Posted by Steve Galea at

I doubt there is a fly angler alive who doesn't know what this icon is. The muddler minnow is synonymous with fly fishing in North America. It's one of those breakthrough flies that brought fly tying forward. It's also a damn good fish catcher.

That big, spun deer hair head moves water and creates bubbles and somehow drives fish crazy. Clearly, it works on brook trout, for that is what originator Don Gapen designed it for. But I wonder if he also knew how many other species would fall for it. Smallmouth bass, in particular, seem to love them.

The point is it is a great pattern and, unless you are a purist who hates tilting the odds of success in your favour, you should always have at least a couple in your fly box when visiting the Park -- or anywhere else for that matter. I tie them as small as size 10 and as large as size 6 but others extend those ranges at each end. The variants such as the marabou muddler are very effective too.

I created the muddler pictured above and took a photo of it because I was so pleased I gave it a proper hair cut. Usually, that's the point where I have issues. Which doesn't matter either -- a ragged muddler actually fishes better. 

Go figure.


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  • Seen a video from my good friend Rob Swainson( who basically saved the Nipigon River Brooktrout and best biologist the Min of Natural Resources/Forestry has lost since his retirement). In the video,Ray Dupuis Sr. of Nipigon shows how he was taught by Don Gapen to tie the famous Muddler Minnow. In fact, the vice Ray is using(Herter) was given to him by Don. Pretty neat piece of History for the World Famous Nipigon River.

    Rooster on

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