How to Tie a Clouser Minnow Fly

Fly fishing nippers are one of the most essential parts of kit we fly fisherman carry. In this post we teach you on how to tie a Clouser Minnow Fly. Read on to know more.
Clouser Minnow

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The Clouser Minnow is one of the most popular and productive fly patterns around. Anglers use it on all types of water, and it works wonders for catching a wide range of gamefish.

Here’s our detailed guide to the Clouser Minnow! Read on to discover how to tie the Clouser fly and the materials you’ll need. Plus, we’ll walk you through the best technique for fishing minnow fly patterns!

Clouser Minnow

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Introducing the Clouser Minnow

It’s been around since 1984, when talented angler, Bob Clouser, came up with this unique streamer design. Clouser wanted to create a pattern that would be effective for smallmouth bass, taking inspiration from some of the classic streamer patterns. He developed it and tested it out on the Susquehanna River, Pennsylvania.

The iconic name came from fly fishing expert, Lefty Kreh and is pretty self-explanatory. Named after its creator, this is a pattern that mimics minnows and other similar baitfish. It is often referred to as the Clouser Minnow, as it’s fished low in the water current.

An incredibly versatile pattern, anglers fish the Clouser Minnow all over the world, in both saltwater and freshwater. You can tie it in many different colors depending on the local forage.

The traditional pattern is white and chartreuse, but there are many other effective varieties, too. Popular color choices include grey/white, pink/white, pure white, and even red/yellow. If you want to learn how to tie your own, you’ll find instructions below!

Originally, the Clouser was tied with krystal flash and bucktail, but there are many different varieties these days. While many fly tiers like to stick to bucktail, some prefer to use synthetic materials instead. 

Dumbbell eyes made from lead or tungsten allow the fly to quickly reach the depths of the water. The bigger and heavier the eyes, the faster your fly will sink through the water.

Wherever you’re heading for your next fly fishing trip, you should pack a few in your tackle fly box. Everything from bass and trout to salmon, steelhead, bluefish, and bonefish will chase down these minnow pattern flies!


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

So you want to tie your own Clouser Minnow? The best way to get started with tying is by following a video tutorial. Here’s a great tutorial to learn from:

We’ve broken down the basic steps for you:

  • Secure your hook in your vise and prepare all your materials.
  • Start by attaching the belly thread, which wraps down one third of the length of the hook shank.
  • Attach the dumbbell eyes around 1/3 of the way down the shank by using figure of eight wraps. This technique stops the eyes from moving around on the shank.
  • Take some white bucktail, at least double the length of your hook shank. Attach the white bucktail at the head of the hook, take it over the eyes and continue tying down the length of the shank. Light wraps can be used to attach the bucktail down to the point of the hook.
  • Next, wrap your thread towards the front of the hook, making a smooth body for your pattern, and trim off your thread.
  • Add the alternative color thread (pink, red, tan etc) to make the wing. Tie it off just before the eyes.
  • Tie on your flash in front of the eyes, and add your bucktail wing using loose wraps at first to minimize flaring.
  • Whether you go for the traditional white/chartreuse color scheme or something else, the strands should be sparse.
  • Finally, create the head and secure with epoxy or head cement,

And there you have it! You’ve tied your very own Clouser 

Minnow. Now you need to get to your nearest river or pond to test it out!

Minnow Rights Reserved

How To Fish the Clouser Minnow

The Clouser fly is a streamer pattern, which means it’s fished below the surface. The best way to fish this pattern is by keeping your rod low and using an active retrieve. 

The Clouser will swim upside-down in the water because of the heavy dumbbell eyes. It should also quickly reach the right depth in the water column thanks to the extra weight.

Your aim with this fly is to make it jump and dart around in the water, in a realistic imitation of a small baitfish. First, take in the slack, and then start a strip that ends abruptly. Carry on stripping in short, sharp bursts, all the while keeping your rod tip low.

Feel free to try a fast retrieve, or alternatively, to slow it down. The fish don’t always go for the same technique, so mix it up and see what works on that particular day. It’s important to keep your fly moving, however. Baitfish don’t just sit around in the current, so if your fly isn’t moving, a bass or trout won’t strike.

When you do feel a bite, make sure to keep stripping. If the fish misses, it will be even more set on chasing after your fly. When you feel it firmly on your line, raise your rod and start hauling that fish in!


What kind of flies do bass like?

Largemouth, smallmouth, and striped bass all go crazy for the Clouser Deep Minnow fly pattern. Other Best Bass Flies include the Woolly 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 on the video above and you’ll soon have your own pattern ready to go.

Minnow Rights Reserved

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.

Don’t forget to share this article on Facebook or Twitter if you found it helpful. Check out our wide range of fly pattern guides at Fly Fisher Pro!

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