Beat the heat this summer and start night fishing for massive trout with mouse patterns. As you may be aware, big trout tend to prefer one large meal to a full day of sucking down tiny nymphs in the current. These larger fish typically prefer to wait until the cover of darkness to hunt to avoid being targets of predators themselves. One of their favorite seasonal snacks is a field mouse. Mice are not incredibly strong swimmers and make an easy target as they swim slowly across the current. Over the years, fly anglers have taken notice of this phenomenon and have cashed in, fishing under the cover of darkness, skating mouse flies across a pitch black stream waiting for the telltale surface take of a mean, hungry trout. In this post, we will explain what mousing is and how you can cash in on the action!
Mouse flies are not that difficult to tie, as our good friend, Tim Flagler demonstrates in the video below. All you really need to tie your own is hooks, foam and a pack of zonker strips. The fly patterns don’t need to look picture perfect because all the trout will see from below is the dark fly contrasted against the night sky.
How to Tie a Mouse Fly:
How to Start Mousing
Step 1: Identify the Stretch of Water You Want to Fish
While this may seem like a no brainer, putting in some footwork during daylight hours and take note of the holes and other areas you want to target. You truly never know what size fish is hiding where, and large brown trout can be masters of hiding out until the exact moment they need to strike! In addition to looking for your fishy targets, also pay attention to casting space and overhang that will be more difficult to get casts under.
Step 2: Get Your Setup Ready
As far as the tackle you’re going to need to start hucking mouse flies around in the dark, its pretty cut and dry. All you need is a 6 WT rod and reel loaded up with a floating line and a short, heavy leader. You won’t need to worry about fish being leader shy when they’re rocketing off the bottom to crush a mouse fly. We like to take a 5x tapered leader and cut it down to about 6 ft, this will firstly help you turn over the fly easily and will also help you pull your fly out of any snags you may find while casting in the dark.
Step 3: Head Out at Last Light and Start Pounding Banks
When I fish mouse flies, I approach the water as if I will be swinging streamers, casting my mouse to fly up against the bank perpendicular or slightly downstream in the current. The trout that are looking for these 4-legged furry snacks are typically lying in wait in ambush positions and will often hit your fly shortly after it hits the water’s surface, so do your best to keep as tight as possible to the fly so you are ready when it gets yanked under by a big fish.
Dan Zazworsky’s passion is sharing his love of fly fishing with anyone that will listen, read or watch. You can find him exploring new waters every day while chasing any fish that will eat a fly!