Fishing with Rod Discussion Forum

Please login or register.

Login with username, password and session length
Advanced search  

Author Topic: What's in my Flybox 11 The Mickey Finn  (Read 3868 times)


  • Old Timer
  • *****
  • Offline Offline
  • Posts: 4462
    • Initating Salmon Fry
What's in my Flybox 11 The Mickey Finn
« on: September 29, 2020, 11:44:23 AM »

The Mickey Finn

Hook: #4 to #10. 2 to 4xl streamer
Thread: black 6/0
rib: silver wire (optional)
Body: silver tinsel (or holographic tinsel)
Wing: Yellow over red (or orange) over Yellow hair (see notes)
Topping: pearl or silver crystal flash

If you fly fish on the coast in Southern BC you have to have this pattern in your fly box! It's long time standard for cutthroat and salmon, particularly coho.

It is a true Canadian pattern and was tied by Charles Lavingevin of Quebec in the late 1800s. The pattern had a couple of names until Ontario writer Greg Clark named it the Mickey Finn when he quipped "this works on the trout like a "Mickey Finn", the Mickey Finn being a drink laced with a sedative or other drug meant to knock out a person for nefarious purposes.

I fish this pattern a lot in the fall and have caught many coho and cutthroat on it. For cutthroat I like it best in early fall when the water is still fairly warm. It is still popular back east as an attractor streamer. It caught the earliest season coho I have caught in the Fraser Valley (Sept 8th) while fishing for cutthroat. It can also be effective for pinks. A sample tied with arctic fox on a #4 hook caught me a massive chum buck in the Harrison one November day many years ago. Back then a huge run often entered that river around Remembrance Day. I had this bushy fly in my box so put it on and cast it out and had a massive strike in return. The fish jumped a few times then took off across the river with more than half the backing on the reel. I pulled back and in the low water of late fall the line raised a large number of water logged sticks to the surface! The fish had skedaddled on that long run with it's belly close to the river bed. I did land that big "fire chicken" which I estimated at close to 20lbs. The hook was set well back in the mouth. I don't I ever hooked a fish that rattled me like that one!

Tying notes:  bucktail is the original material and still as good as any. Fluorescent hair is often favored. Polar bear has also been popular but if harder to get and expensive. I have also tied it with arctic fox tail. I tie smaller samples with spooled or carded antron and have been using Craft fur (such as in the photo). Craft fur is inexpensive and as the fibers are all the same diameter through their length can be carefully trimmed if too long or you encounter fouling around the hook bend.

It's common to use double the amount of yellow hair for the top vs the  bottom yellow layer and the mid red. On the west coast Orange is frequently substituted for the red.

The tinsel body can be delicate particularly if holographic tinsel is used. Counter wrapping a wire rib and even coating the body with tying cement or krazy glue helps. Lately I have been using UV resin. Substituting pearl mylar tinsel gives the tyer the "Pearl Mickey" which is used off the beaches on the East Coast of the Island.

« Last Edit: March 15, 2021, 05:33:14 PM by RalphH »
"Humanity, one of the countless species forming the biosphere, can perturb it, but we cannot leave it or destroy it without perishing ourselves. The cycles of the other species can be destroyed and the biosphere corrupted. But for each careless step we take, our species will pay an unwelcome price-always."

E.O. Wilson


  • Jr. Member
  • **
  • Offline Offline
  • Posts: 36
Re: What's in my Flybox 11 The Mickey Finn
« Reply #1 on: September 29, 2020, 09:17:54 PM »

Hi Ralph
Most recently a very productive fly for me for Searun cutties from the beach at the mouth of the Englishman river this spring