Story By: Mike
Flagg, aka "Mike MT"
Fly Tied By: Mike
Mike is a Holistic Healthcare Practitioner living,
working...and fishing in Kalispell,
Read Mike's other "Fly With a Story":
The Whiz Kid
years I've heard about how effective a
properly fished muddler can be, but I was never a big fan of them;
they just didn't have the minnow look of a Clouser, Dace, etc. But
this particular variation finally sold me on the muddler in a big
One late September day I floated a river
close to home. It's not a "blue ribbon" river by any stretch of the
imagination, but it does harbor some very large rainbows, cutts, and
the occasional bulltrout, all of which LOVE minnows in the fall. The
drift winds it's way through some of the most pristine country I've
ever seen. Grizzly and black bear, moose, elk, and whitetail deer
frequent the corridor, and you can expect to see at least one of
these fine creatures during any given day. Common, too, are 15’ –
20’ deep holes, log jams, crystal clear water, and a little manual
labor dragging or carrying the boat through the shallows. Maybe
that's the reason this area doesn't get much fishing pressure –
there’s too much work.
We put in the two-man pontoon boat and
started our trip about three miles upstream from where we expected
to finish, just as it began to rain. I tied on the Bloody Muddler
first thing -- more out of curiosity than anything else. Would the
red calftail underwing really make that big of a difference? Red has
always been good for cutthroat, and it did look like a wounded
minnow...maybe it'll trigger a strike.
At the first hole, 8' deep and near the far
bank, I hooked a very respectable 19" rainbow. I've caught 19" 'bows
before, but what made me take notice of this particular fish was
that my fishing companion had just worked that hole thoroughly with
his favorite fly for this river, an olive conehead woolly bugger,
and he hadn’t had a single strike or nudge.
That's the way the day went. Each time he’d
work a hole with his buggers, I'd come behind with the Bloody
Muddler and catch the fish.
As the rain continued to fall, I continued
to catch fish, and my buddy's frustration grew. Of the five flies I
had tied, logjams had claimed all but one. I nevertheless offered
him the last one, but as a true friend he declined and stayed with
About halfway through the float I lost that
last fly and ended up fishing standard muddlers and buggers, with
not so much as a strike during the remainder of the trip. I was sold
on the Bloody Muddler. It outfished all other patterns that day, and
put four very nice trout in my net. I will certainly be fishing this
fly MUCH more in the future.