Fishing Fly tying

Fly tying: The Mickey Finn

A couple weeks back, I asked what your favorite fall streamer pattern was, and I got a lot of good answers, ranging from the Egg-sucking Leech to the Black Ghost to the venerable Mickey Finn.

In the video above, Barry Ord Clarke ties the Mickey Finn, a fantastic, classic streamer that fall trout really like, largely, I think, because of the bright colors that might match those of small trout or even eggs that find their way into the water column.

It is, indeed, a classic streamer pattern with an interesting history—according to Clarke, it used to be called the “Red and Yellow” but it’s name was changed to the Mickey Finn after the actor Rudolph Valentino was murdered by a waiter who the actor had apparently mistreated. Cause of death? The waiter put a “Mickey Finn” in Valentino’s cocktail.

Clarke does a great job showing some of the more intricate details that are necessary when tying this streamer, like keeping the thread flat to ensure a good-looking tinsel body, and the all-important stacking of the dyed bucktail. And, as he points out, it’s not only a great-looking fly, but it fishes very well or fall trout. I’ve even seen guys on Idaho’s Salmon River using it as a steelhead fly, simply because its somewhat gaudy colors seem to attract fish.


— Chris Hunt

By Chris Hunt.