by David Klausmeyer
Sometime around 1936, Don Gapen, of Anoka, Minnesota, lashed a concoction of commonly available ingredients—deer hair, slips clipped from a turkey tail feather, gold tinsel, and gray squirrel tail hair—to a long-shank streamer hook to create an imitation of a sculpin. Gapen tied his new fly, called the Muddler Minnow, to catch the Nipigon strain of brook trout in Ontario, Canada.
In addition to being a great fish-catching pattern, the iconic Muddler Minnow is one of the most imitated flies in the history of our craft. Dozens of tiers have used the basic form of the Muddler Minnow as inspiration for designing new patterns; my favorite, which I use for catching trophy bass and landlocked salmon, has a white marabou wing topped with a few strands of pearl Krystal Flash.
Eric Austin, a master at tying classic trout and salmon flies, dressed this perfectly proportioned Muddler Minnow.