The Clouser Minnow – Fly Tying Guide

Originally called the Clouser Deep Minnow and developed by Bob Clouser, a Royalton, Pennsylvania fly shop owner and fly fishing guide, in 1987. Tied by Bob Clouser but named by his close fly-tying friend and angler legendary Lefty Kreh.

How To Tie A Clouser Minnow Fly

Bob tied the Clouser Minnow to target smallmouth bass in North America. The pattern has since gotten global recognition not only as a great freshwater fly but an amazing saltwater pattern.

The Clouser Minnow has been recorded catching over 100 different species around the world, and if that isn’t a worthy note to have a few in your fly box, then I’m not sure what is. Tying the Clouser minnow, or as we know it, the Clouser deep minnow doesn’t take many materials.

It’s a straightforward approach to tying the Clouser Minnow fly pattern. The Clouser minnow basically consists of lead eyes or tungsten dumbbell eyes, bucktail flash, and white bucktail. The fly rides upsidedown with the hook point facing upwards. The lead eyes allow the pattern to sink quickly, giving the fly the jig movement on the drop.

Tying the Clouser Minnow is quick and very easy; a few key points are worth learning, but once you have those dialed, you are good to go fly fishing.

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Tying a Clouser Minnow

  1. Place hook in the vise and start the thread base.
  2. Tie in the eyes and apply glue to secure.
  3. Tie in the tail
  4. Wrap body chenille forward and around the eyes.
  5. Invert pattern
  6. Tie in the two colors of bucktail, finishing with the same color as the body.
  7. Build thread head and apply head cement.

how to tie a clouser minnow fly

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Materials for Clouser Minnow Fly

Here’s what you’ll need to tie this Minnow fly pattern:

  • Hook: Saltwater hook in sizes 2 – 8
  • Thread: White UTC 3/0 thread
  • Eyes: Lead or tungsten dumbbell eyes
  • Belly: White bucktail
  • Flash: Krystal flash – gold or pearl
  • Back: Olive bucktail
  • Head: Tying thread and head cement or epoxy

How To Tie A Clouser Minnow Fly Step-by-Step

how to tie a clouser minnow fly step 1

Lock your hook in the vise, making sure it is secure and not too close to the tip of the jaws, as the hook may slip when you apply tension to it. This is especially important when tying a larger fly because they tend to slip easier than smaller ones.

how to tie a clouser minnow fly step 2

Start with a good thread base down the length of the shank.

how to tie a clouser minnow fly step 3

When tying in the eyes, apply some extra tension to the wraps so that they remain secure. Secure them in 3-4mm behind the eye, making sure you keep enough room for the bucktail to be tied in. You can apply a drop of super glue to secure them to the shank properly.

how to tie a clouser minnow fly step 4

how to tie a clouser minnow fly step 5

Cut a bunch of bucktail off and put it through the hair stacker. Tie in the tail and tie up the tag end to behind the eyes and cut off. This gives bulk to the body.

how to tie a clouser minnow fly step 6

Next, tie in the crystal chenille and wrap it forward, making sure to cover the thread around the eyes as well. Finish with the thread in front of the eyes. Turn the Clouser minnow fly upside down.

how to tie a clouser minnow fly step 7

Cut off a piece of pink bucktail to tie in first. When tying the Clouser Minnow, I always use the chosen color first, then the white to finish, it’s my preferred way, but you can do what works for you. Tie in the pink securely, making sure not to tie in too much hair as you want a sparse-looking fly, and this will make the fly pattern too bulky. Generally, in fly fishing, I like a slender, sparse-looking fly pattern.

When tying the Clouser, this is often the stage that most novice tyers get wrong. You want the hair to stay on top of the shank and not roll around or splay out. This is best achieved by applying 2-3 loose wraps, then holding down the hair and applying tension, ensuring the thread grips the hair on top.

Apply the white over the pink again, not too much, and make sure it’s on top of the pink stack. It’s at this step that you can add some Krystal flash if you want. It is at this stage that you make sure your wraps are tight and strands are secure.

Taking your time here, wrap and cover the bucktail tag ends and, in doing so, build up a proportionate thread head. Don’t let the thread slip in any way and finish off with a whip finish.

how to tie a clouser minnow fly step 8

how to tie a clouser minnow fly step 9

Apply head cement and allow to dry

How to fish the Clouser Minnow

The Clouser Minnow pattern is fished very similarly around the globe. In freshwater for smallmouth bass or saltwater for bonefish, the action stays the same. Short quick retrieves or long slow ones with a pause in between. The fish will often take the fly on the drop, so be ready for that hit.

Whichever way you choose to fish this fly, salt, river, or still waters, it will catch fish. The white bucktail versions are always good to start with and see how it goes from there.

Happy fishing.


What kind of flies do bass like?

One of the best flies for striped bass, largemouth, and smallmouth is the Clouser Deep Minnow fly pattern. Other Best Bass Flies include the wooly bugger, Softshell Crayfish, and the Fathead Diver.

How do you tie for trout?

You can tie a pattern for trout fly fishing to lure the fish out. Here’s how to tie one for trout. Just follow the steps in the video above and you’ll soon have your own pattern ready to go.

how to tie a clouser minnow fly

The Wrap Up

The Clouser Minnow is a popular fly among fly anglers worldwide, and for good reason. It’s versatile, flashy, imitates baitfish perfectly, and will catch you all sorts of fish! This pattern is a must-have for any angler, whether you fish inland or in saltwater.

Now you know everything there is to know about the Clouser Minnow! The next step is to have a go at fly tying for yourself and make your own minnow fly. Just grab a hook and the other materials and follow along with the steps in the video above, and you’ll soon be an expert fly tier.

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