You Can Mouse Just About Anywhere

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Mousing on the Dream Stream. Photo By: Louis Cahill

By Kent Klewein

Eight years ago, I got fed up with reading articles about people all around the country and abroad fly fishing with mouse patterns and landing truly giant trout.

It seemed every medium I read or watched, there were people showcasing how productive mouse fishing could be. The only problem was, where I lived in North Georgia, as well as the majority of my neighboring states, I heard very little about anyone fishing mouse patterns. You’d find a few patterns here and there in the fly bins at the local fly shops, but in actuality, I think most of those were being fished on farm ponds for bass not for trout. I couldn’t take it any longer, so I decided to go on a mousing binge, strictly fishing mouse patterns on my days off. I really wanted to figure out if mouse patterns would work just as well on my home waters as they did on blue ribbon caliber trout streams.

My first big brown trout fishing a mouse pattern.

It didn’t take long to find success. My second trip out I landed a 26 1/2″ wild brown trout on my home tailwater. It was one of the biggest documented fly caught brown trout on the surface that anyone could remember for quite some time. I then moved on to some of my favorite small mountain streams where I’d never heard of anyone tying on and fishing a mouse pattern. Again, my mouse experiment yielded incredible success, and I quickly turned into a mouse fishing enthusiast. I didn’t know if I was having luck because no other anglers were fishing these big mouse patterns, or if it was simply that very few anglers in my area were willing to accept mice were regularly being preyed upon by our local trout. I didn’t know for sure, but in all honesty, I didn’t really care. Success was success, and I was going to milk it before everyone caught on.

Here’s What I learned about Fishing Mouse Patterns that first year.

  1. You can just about fishing mouse patterns anywhere with success. Do not exclude small trout streams.
  2. Although you seem to catch bigger trout on average with mouse patterns, I did find smaller trout will aggressively eat them as well.
  3. Brown trout aren’t alone, rainbow trout, brook trout (char), and steelhead will chomp on mouse patterns too.
  4. I learned there are other ways of fishing mouse patterns other than the traditional down and across skating technique. On smaller streams in particular, I had very good success fishing the mouse patterns casting them upstream and working them back downstream like a bass popper (pop, pop, pop, pause…, pop, pop, pause….WHAM).
  5. I found that timing the hook-set with mouse patterns was crucial. Often big trout would swirl and knock at the mouse pattern, and then come back to eat it. The best way to get solid hookups was to wait on the hook-set until you felt tension.
  6. The best mouse patterns were highly buoyant and had a hook on the very rear of the fly.
  7. A Medium Action fly rod with a 1x-3x 7 1/2-9′ leader was most practical for absorbing strong smash and grabs, abrasive teeth, and limiting leader/tippet twisting. The size of stream, and how leader shy the fish are you should dictate what rig you use.
  8. Although low light situations (dawn & dusk) were best for fishing mouse patterns, I also had success during the middle of the day. This means you can have success fishing mouse patterns any time of the day.
  9. The deep and moderate to slow moving water was where I hooked up with the biggest trout on my home waters. Really turbulent water seemed to mask the silhouette of the mouse and its effectiveness.
  10. The colder months of the year seem to be less productive for mouse fishing. I only assume it’s because many of the mice have to stay sheltered underground to stay protected from the cold weather. Because of this, I know focus fishing mouse patterns from the Spring through Fall.
  11. Tying the mouse pattern on with a loop knot provided the best action.
  12. Cover lots of water. If you do not get looks or chases usually within a few casts, the fish aren’t interested.

For more information about mouse patterns and fishing them, check out these links below.

Hidey Ho – By Louis Cahill

Deneki Outdoors – 5 Tips for Mousing Rainbow Trout

Jeff Hickman’s Mr. Hankey – Mouse Pattern – Deneki

Keep it Reel,

Kent Klewein
Gink & Gasoline
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One thought on “You Can Mouse Just About Anywhere

  1. I have always carried a few mouse patterns on me but I only used them on stocked ponds with mutant trout. The trout seem to eyeball them pretty good but I never landed anything. I am going to give mouse patterns another try. I am going to fish them on the rivers around aspen until I catch something. Thanks for the tips.

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