Smallmouth Bass Clouser Minnow Fly Tying Instruction Video

Smallmouth Bass Clouser Minnow

Smallies are a non native gamefish brought to Oregon by officials and anglers who longed for the kind of fishing they had experienced East of the Rockies. Today, these fish have established a permanent foothold in places like the John Day, Umpqua, and Willamette, to mention but a few. Smallmouth bass are one of the key species on the radar of many Oregon Anglers, some of who spend ten times on chasing smallies and bucketmouth than I could ever imagine in my most obsessive salmon and steelhead fever.

The Clouser Deep Minnow is a fly pattern used for Smallmouth bass across the range of the species and that means Oregon too, duh. Color combinations favored by Bass anglers and hopefully by the bass too, tend to edge towards various shades of brown, olive, yellow, gray, and root beer. Hummmmmm. A root beer float might taste right nice tonight, or in the next fifteen minutes.

The sizes of Clousers fished for Smallies tend to be a little smaller than we would fish for salmon in the ocean, offshore bottom fish, or in some estuary salmon settings. I think that the color schemes and sizes of effective Smallie Clousers tend to be keyed to the size of baitfish and similar prey that the bass are accustomed to chase.

The color combination in our video has proven deadly on the main Umpqua. Using either a floating line or short sink tip cast and retrieve this version of the clouser and results will be excellent. The Umpqua Bass Fishery has been slow to come this year with high water, but it is on now. Try the drift from Umpqua to Woods or Woods to Osprey.

This article is one in a series on Clouser-type flies that will help round out your appreciation for the fly, they tying techniques, and the fishing methods. Got Clousers?

tube clouser

Smallmouth Bass Clouser Minnow

Hook:Gamakatsu SLS12 #2 or TMC 811s #2-8
Eyes: Painted lead Red size Med or Large
Thread: White Ultra Thread 140 Denier
Belly: White DNA Holo Fusion
Flash: Copper and Bonefish Tan Krystal Flash
Top Wing: Root Beer and Olive Bucktail


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4 Responses to Smallmouth Bass Clouser Minnow Fly Tying Instruction Video

  1. Gregory Fitz says:

    Hey Gang:

    I’m looking at the blog from home in Minnesota. I love my mississippi smallmouth, but I wonder about them in the John Day and Umpqua. Has anyone produced any studies about their effect on salmon and steelhead populations? They are such efficient predators I can’t help but worry about the amount of fry and smolts they would eat.

    I’m no biologist, but non-native predators must have an effect on migratory populations, right?


  2. Oregon Fly Fishing Blog says:

    Not speaking for ODFW, but trying to help a little, here goes: yes, in general, a non-native piscivore species like the smallie is not good for baby salmon and steelhead. That said, I believe that the impact of the smallmouth bass on native salmon and steelhead in the John Day and in the Umpqua is lessened by the fact that the main-stems are mostly too hot to support rearing salmonid juveniles during the summer these days (historically, the young salmonids probably reared in the lower mainstreams, I think). During spring, when there is a significant migration of salmon and steelhead smolts downstream through the mainstreams, the water is cooler and apparently the metabolism of the smallmouth is lower and the feeding of these predators on the natives is at a low level. Lord and the biologists who know more about this than me please add to or correct my attempt to provide information, thanks. JN

  3. JGR says:

    The darker colors, such as brown, oranges and yellows tend to mimic crayfish. Crayfish are what smallmouth love to eat more than anything else in the world.

  4. Brandon Thackara says:

    I have seen on several occasions, pods of Umpqua smallies chasing salmon smolt out of the water and trying to eat them. I have seen quite a few schools of outmigrating fish on the mainstem umpqua. They look like black clouds in the water. So, yeah they are probably impacting the salmonids population… They are mean little Bass-terds!

    They sure are fun to catch though!

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