This month Allan Liddle talks us through the Green Tail Kate McLaren Muddler

Following on from my recent tutorials focusing on ‘Bob Flies’ for wild trout I thought it might be good to show my adaptation of one of the most deadly and popular patterns the Kate McLaren Muddler

Devised way back by Glasgow Fly Tier William Robertson under the request John McLaren father of renowned Sea Trout Angler Charles McLaren, this fly was named after John’s wife (Charles’ mum) and rapidly became a favourite amongst loch brown and sea trout anglers at the time, as well as standing the test of time to remain a top pick amongst loch trout anglers today. 

Although somewhat changed a bit from the original dressing (which is in itself still as deadly today as it was back in the day) both through material progression and slight changes in angling style, you would still pretty much recognise the fly although fair comment that in this case there are a couple of fundamental alterations, tail and body dubbing.

In addition for this particular fly I also like to substitute the body rid from oval silver to fine silver wire as I feel it’s not only more robust but also much easier to use when tying (as well as not being detrimental to the way the finished fly performs).  And to bring it right up to date the head hackle of Red Game has been altered in favour of dyed brown deer hair to give it that water moving added attraction of turning it into a muddler style pattern, just the job for Northern Wild Trout, especially as it’s often a ‘wee bit windy’ in these parts.

‘Gink’ the whole fly when fishing this, even if using it sub-surface as it adds to the action and takes, especially when ‘bounced’ over the wave tops are almost always spectacular often bordering on completely savage giving a spectacle that stays in the memory for a long time.


Hook; Partridge SUD2 Patriot Barbless or L5A Dry Fly Supreme size 8 - 14

Thread; Black Uni 8/0

Tail; Glowbrite Floss no 11

Rib; Fine Silver Wire

Body; Black Hare’s Ear Dubbing

Hackle; Black Cock Saddle

Head; Fine Deer Hair (dyed brown)


Tying Sequence:


Step 1 Place hook in vice and catch in thread.

Step 2 Take approx. 5 (125mm) of floss and double three times then pinch and loop onto top of hook.

Step 3 Run thread down hook to secure floss tail.

Step 4 Secure wire rib, run thread up hook and back again to give a flat thread base for dubbing over.

Step 5 Trim the floss to desired length.

Step 6 Dub on black hare's ear onto thread keeping 'rope' even.

Step 7 Dub on body then pick out with Velcro or dubbing needle for 'buggy' effect.

Step 8 Tie in hackle behind head and run in open turns towards tail, then run wire rib in even turns in opposite direction taking care not to trap any hackle fibres.

Step 9 Trim off excess hackle and break off wire rib then take thread back approximately quarter way back down hook shank to form space for deer hair.

Step 10 Take a small bunch of deer hair.

Step 11 Brush out underfur then stack deer hair to get the tips even.

Step 12 Offer deer hair to hook setting tips approximately level with rear of hook bend.

Step 13 Take two loose turns of thread then let go with holding hand and take further turns spinning deer hair around shank to form muddler head.

Step 14 Push cut ends of deer hair back and tie in thread once.

Step 15 Apply a little varnish to thread then complete second whip finish.

Step 16 Trim cut ends of hair to form muddler head taking care not to cut the tips.

Step 17 Trim hair as required.  Note I like to trim short and slightly angled upwards.



Allan Liddle

Based in Moray in Scotland's North East, Allan has specialises with the wild trout from the rivers and burns, lochs and lochans throughout Mainland Scotland and the Isles. A strong passion for fishing simple dries he feels there's nothing better than to see the fish take off the top, but isn't slow to fish a range of different styles when mood or conditions dictate. Although trout is his first love Allan occasionally chases the Salmon, Grayling stocked fish and even dabbles in salt water when the chance arises.

Allan has also represented Scotland at international level, is a GAIA qualified trout instructor and a has been a regular contributor to Fly Fishing and Fly Tying Magazine for almost twenty years. Allan’s love of fly tying spans almost thirty years and has been a regular at many tying demonstrations and work shops prior to, and since joining the Partridge Pro-Team in 2013.

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