Casey Smartt's Fly Fishing, Photography, & Outdoor Stuff

Tying the Chrome Minnow

About 10 years ago, I tied a really gnarly looking Clouser Minnow with a body made from a fat clump of silver Krystal Flash. The pattern defied the typical less-is-more design proven to be so effective on Clouser Minnows. But, it looked good in the water and it caught the heck out of fish. Because it was a big, silver, flashy fly, I called it a “Chrome Clouser.”

Like so many flies, the Chrome Clouser has evolved and morphed over time. I quit adding belly fibers and exchanged the grey bucktail accent across the back on the original for grey synthetic fibers. Eventually the white lead dumbell eyes on the early versions were replaced with stainless beadchain eyes which were non-toxic, less expensive, and more durable. The standard Mustad #2 34007 hook was also replaced with a sticky Eagle Claw 413 jig hook. This upturned eye of the EC 413 made the fly even better for slipping over over solid structure like rocks and shell and ensured the fly never spun or turned sideways during a fast retrieve. One thing stayed the same however… the fat clump of Krystal Flash which I believe mostly accounts for the fly’s success.

Because this pattern has changed from what was essentially a Clouser minnow into a fly that shares elements of the Clouser Minnow and many other patterns, I now just call it a Chrome Minnow. But most certainly it’s roots are in the hook-up, eye-down, jig-like Clouser design. It is difficult to say how many fish I have caught with Chrome Clousers and Chrome Minnows over the past 10 years, but it easily numbers in the thousands. It has proven to be an outstanding pattern in both fresh and saltwater. In fact, I think the only fish I have not caught with it is a common carp.

A few tips on tying this fly are: 1) Be sure not to crowd the eye of hook with the stainless eyes or the materials, 2) Use a little Hard-as-nails or other cement on the thread wraps between each step, 3) Trim the Krystal Flash so you get a good taper to the shape of the fly.


Hook: Eagle Claw EC413 #2 or equivalent

Thread: Uni med clear nylon mono

Body: Large clump of tapered silver Krystal Flash

Back: Slender clump of grey Fishair

Eyes: Med. stainless steel bead chain

10 Responses to “Tying the Chrome Minnow”

  1. gary

    What are your favorite colors? Have you tried the tulip glitter on the heads of these? Do you put any material behind the eyes?

    • caseysmartt

      Hello Gary.

      I only tie the Chrome Minow as shown. Jig hook, stainless eyes, K Flash, and fishair… Nothing else needed.

  2. James Ducy

    Casey- what size of hook do you find works best for freshwater-than saltwater

  3. Walker

    I just tied another dozen of them. It is a tremendously good fly in the surf. If you want to play with the spanish mackerels, this is the fly. I tied them on 2’s for the surf here in Texas. I also tied up smaller ones one size 8 to size 4 to use in my front yard on Anegada. The blue runners love them, as well as most any other Caribbean fish in clear water.

    This is one my absolute favorite flies. Thanks to Gartooth for sharing it!

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