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If I had to pick one trout fly for anywhere in the country now, it would be an easy choice: the Muddler Minnow. This pattern (and its cousins) can be fished several ways, and it imitates a wide range of things trout love to eat. Greased up, it floats like a grasshopper. Stripped through deep pools, it looks like a juicy sculpin. Skated at night, it’s a mouse. The more creative you are, the more you appreciate this classic.

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Photograph by Travis Rathbone

Anatomy of a fly_
_The typical Muddler features a spun deer hair head, a turkey feather underwing and tail, and a tinsel-wrapped body.

Top Spin _
_The more densely spun and tightly clipped the deer hair, the more buoyant the Muddler, and the more water it displaces when ripped below the surface as a streamer.

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Photograph by Kyle Thompson

Bald Head
The original Gapen Muddler, created in 1937 by Don Gapen, has a sparser head section and is ideal for clear sculpin-laden waters.

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Photograph by Kyle Thompson

Soft Touch
A Marabou Muddler has a softer marabou underwing, which pulsates in the water. It’s a solid leech imitation when dead-drifted.

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Photograph by Kyle Thompson

Heavy Metal
The weighted Tunghead Muddler dives quickly. Fish it by swinging it through swift currents, or dredge it through deep pools.

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Photograph courtesy of Percysflies.com

Dark Secret
The Black Muddler is best for fishing in tinted water, in low-light conditions, or on the surface as a cicada or cricket imitation.

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