Price: $3.50

    34By the early 1980s steelhead fly fishers were realizing the need for larger flies. Not only for dirty water, but also for covering large pieces of water. With larger flies, big rivers like the Skagit could be fished more quickly and efficiently. The least expensive and most readily available material at the time was Marabou. By winding plumes around a hook shank a large profile could be created without too much weight or bulk. Through trial and error I found that 3 plumes were about all most people could cast with the single handed rods that were in use during those days. By adding saddle tips to the hook shank before tying in the marabou I could create a bigger profile without adding much more bulk. Most fly tyers know that marabou when wet can stream down to almost nothing, early attempts at solving this problem used a bump of chenille behind the marabou helping to flare it out. Then by continually trying to improve my flies, I found that a large hackle such as a Schlappen caused turbulence that not only flared the marabou but also created more action.

    The next problem that arose was the long shank hooks gave the fish too much leverage and also were often too heavy of wire to create good hook sets. This problem was solved by cutting the bend of the hook off and articulating a smaller, finer diameter hook. Dacron was used to connect the two hooks together, which also gave the rear part of the fly more action. Later, longer finer saddle hackles were added to the tail which gave the flies a different and better action. While I have been fishing the minnow for over twenty years, in about 1995 I shared some with my friend George Cook to take on his journeys to Alaska and Patagonia. When George returned he wanted to mass produce the flies, and share them with the general public. So I put together the action and profile of the Skagit Minnow with the fish catching colors of George's own Popsicle series. The Skagit Minnow has been effective wherever salmon, trout, or steelhead swim.

    MB Kinney