Saturday, August 23, 2014

Tips on Fishing a Mouse

Duncan Mouse

1.) To begin with, angle your cast downstream especially if you are fishing out of a boat. This will prevent a downstream bow in the line which will pull your fly too fast away from the area you are trying to fish. If you must cast perpendicular to the boat or your position on shore, immediately throw a mend upstream to avoid the same problem. If you don't get enough of a mend or too much of a mend and skate your fly with the mend, don't cast again. Fish it as it is. It is your best shot!

Morrish Mouse in Kamchatka

2.) To fish a mouse effectively you must "swim" your fly. To do this you should not retrieve the fly in short strips like a popper. Mice do not sputter about. They do not pop… they swim. Your fly must swim too! To accomplish this, after your fly has hit your target spot, let the fly swing. To do this, lift your rod hand up to just below shoulder level. This puts you in direct contact with your fly. With your rod in this position, wiggle your rod tip with your rod hand. This imparts a swimming action to your fly. To take up line, make long slow strips with you line hand, then pin the line with your rod hand to move your line hand back up to stripping position. If done correct, a small wiggling wake will be seen behind your fly. This takes a bit of practice, but when achieved, your fly will look just like a rodent that is swimming against the current.

Mr. Hanky on a dollie
3.) Fish aggressively and energetically. Hit seams, the pillow in front of rocks and logs, small ledges, root balls, deadfalls, micro-pockets, behind rockets and logs, but especially in eddies right off the bank. Fish aggressively, but fish smart. Read the water. Try to decipher where a trout would lie out of the swiftest current, but still able to dash out to take a meal.

4.) Be especially mindful to hit the bank. Trout are often in ambush position very close to the bank so your fly should be too. A mouse falling into the river would start swimming mere inches from the bank not two feet away… guess where you fly needs to be!

5.) Cover the water. Don't worry about hitting every part of every likely spot. Don't recast to a spot 12 inches from where you just cast. If you made a reasonable cast, try a new spot. Trout will see your fly if it is anywhere in the vicinity. I've had trout move 20 feet to take a mouse.

Mr. Hanky

6.) When a trout attacks your fly, let him eat. Because you get to see the fish approach, open his mouth and inhale your fly, it is difficult to keep your composure and not strike too soon. Be patient, let him eat it. Let the fish close his mouth and turn... that is the time to strike. A mouse is a caloric bonanza for a trout. He will not spit it out. LET HIM EAT! If you don't, you will be pulling your fly away from fish all day long.

Hood Rat…
Tying instructions here


  1. Don't you first have to catch a mouse? Nyuk nyuk nyuk.

  2. Is that a river in Alaska? The Nyuknyuknyuk?
    Yes, I tie a cheese fly with cheddar yarn. I chum them up with Wisconsin cheddar, then when they are in a full feeding frenzy, I throw my yarn fly in the middle.