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The Magic Minnow

If I had to guess, more than a few different fly patterns have used the name, The Magic Minnow or some variation. It really is just too good to pass up! Add in a few jigs, preserved minnows, and skin care therapy that are all similarly named. The fly I am talking about is the Niklaus Bauer pattern. There is also a Jack Gartside pattern that is similarly named - and if Jack tied it, it's bound to be a fish catching machine. Who wouldn't love the name, Magic Minnow? Seems like a lot to live up to, however Niklaus' pattern lives up to the name, in my experiences.

3 Magic Ripple Minnows
A few Magic Ripple Minnows with Arctic Fox or feather heads.

I highlight the pattern because it is quite effective and fun to tie. Being a Swedish pattern, few anglers are likely to have come across the pattern. It is a very versatile pattern that can be altered and colored with marker pens to meet your needs. While none of the videos show it but it is pretty easy to hide a cone or bead in the fly for a little added weight.


Below, Niklaus Bauer is tying the Magic Minnow and while the language is unfamiliar, unless you speak Swedish, you can probably follow along and get the general idea.


An English language version of the fly tied by Tie the Fly.

The Ripple Ice Fiber version is my personal favorite and a fly I've tied versions of at the Southern Wisconsin Trout Unlimited IceBreaker in Madison.

Magic Ripple Minnow (My interpretation)

Hook: Streamer of your choice (not a terribly long shank)

Thread: 140 denier thread (or something similar)

Tail: Ripple Ice Fiber

Body: Ripple Ice Fiber (Dyed on pearl colors), balled up, tied in at midpoint, and use a scissors to cut the fibers after they are tied in

Head: Ripple Ice Fiber tied as a veil, darker color on top

Eyes: 2D or 3D eyes of your choice


Daniel Bergman has an interesting way of tying in some orange fluorescent color to sides of the head which I've skipped in the interpretation above but feel free to add it. I will sometimes tone down the flash in the pattern by using hen hackle, Arctic Fox, streamer dubbing, or other materials for the head. An all black version is great for fishing high and muddy streams.


Ripple Ice Fiber comes in two different forms - a pearl or dyed on pearl form and an opaque form. In the images below, the first two are the pearlescent style and the last image of the white Ripple Ice fiber is the opaque version. For the "Swedish meatball" technique that Daniel Bergman describes in the video, you need the pearl / dyed on pearl form of Ripple Ice Fiber.


Give the Magic Minnow a try! It is a fairly simple fly, although the body's "Swedish meatball" technique will likely take a few attempts before you are comfortable with the technique. The biggest mistake you will make is thinking you need a lot more material for the body than you really need. Tie in 2 or 3 smaller "meatballs" rather than trying to cover the shank with fewer, larger "meatballs". It is a great technique and provides a ton of possibilities for the creative fly tyer. It provides bulk but without a lot of material so the materials can move in the water and provide a little translucence.

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