The evening before we ventured to Treasureton Reservoir, I sat down at the fly tying vise to construct some ice flies. In my mind, I envisioned something on the order of a lead-head jig. I did not have any of the necessary components at the time, though, to construct them. Upon further contemplation, I decided a weighted maribou fly was the answer. What could be better than a Maribou muddler in a smaller hook size?
The Maribou muddler was first designed by Dan Bailey in the late 1950s. Basically, it was a revision of the ever-popular Muddler minnow. Instead of turkey wings, several plumes of maribou were added. The popularity of the fly increased as its effectiveness in producing large trout became known. The soft breathing action of the maribou produces a definite minnow-like appearance. The fly is well suited to be used as a jig.
To make a long story short, I tied some Maribou muddlers in several colors, mostly with white and yellow maribou plumes. To impart a jig-like action to the fly, I added several turns of lead wire on the head. The first couple attempts at covering the lead wire with clipped deer hair were somewhat feeble. I eventually discovered though, that the operation was entirely possible. I also discovered that a bullet-style deer-hair head worked even better. My first ice fishing trip was wonderful. The flies did the trick; in fact I outfished Gordon that day. So, there really is no excuse for purists to stay home at the cabin on frosty winter days. Tie some Maribou muddler jigs and try them at your favorite frozen lake.
Here is the pattern for the Maribou muddler as listed in Jack Dennis', book
Western Trout Fly Tying Manual, Volume I.
Hook: Mustad 3399A, 9671, 9672, or 3665A
Tail: Red hackle fibers
Body: Silver or gold tinsel
Wing: Maribou plume feathers
Topping: Several strands of peacock herl
Head: Clipped deer-hair
Fly Tying Made Clear and Simple by Skip Morris, et al (Spiral-bound - September 1992)
Trout Flies: The Tier's Reference by Dave Hughes; Hardcover
Complete Book of Western Hatches: An Angler's Entomology and Fly Pattern Field Guide by Rick Hafele, Dave Hughes (Paperback - May 1981)
Jack Dennis Western Trout Fly Tying Manual by Jack Dennis
Is It Really That Difficult to Learn to Fly Fish? by Pudge Kleinkopf
When You Want to Release the Fish Unharmed by Sharon Watson
Ice Fishing the Gem State by Charlie Powell
Henrys Fork Fly Fishing Classic by Sharon Watson