Mar 27, 2011

Sweet Critters

In the spirit of my spring post here are a couple cool mouse flies for you

The Count Chocula mouse by Michael Rowland as found in Hatches Magazine online, even includes a cool step by step, look it up.

A couple cool flies from the boys over at idlywilde. Available at dealers near you

Mar 22, 2011

It's Time!

Spring is finally here, which means a lot of things for the mouse tribe. I for one am stoked as he'll for this. Spring is the time of year I've had my best luck drumming up steel on those little hairballs and when pike and muskies seem to chew em a little more too. I've also landed my biggest and smallest stream trout on mice and many anglers can say the same. Ok.. so many of us haven't gotten out yet, at least for warmwater but the season is here and you don't want to be the guy that should have been there yesterday.
My rods are all dusted off minus my steelhead rods which are still thawing out, I've gone through my gear and stocked most of my flies save for the infamous esoxabox which has a few more slots in it. I'm saving those slots for a new creation of mine that you will see soon. I can't wait to throw them at something other than my pet arowanas ( they make great testors).
As much as I'd like to tell you about my new chew toys it will have to wait for the reveal. I can tell you it's a mouse/frog hyrbrid tube fly that's durable as hell, floats like a cork, pops, dives and anything else you want it to. I'm most exited by the fact that's it's so versatile I can fish it on flouro or straight mono and I've had succes fishing it with both pre fab and knottable bite leaders. Stand by soldiers, more info and orders to come.

Aug 10, 2010

All about trout - or at least it used to be

Mousing is not something most people do casually. For those of us who really dig fish gobbling up theses little kamikaze's, its a full time commitment. I cannot even begin to tell you how much preparation goes into every mousepedition I've been on and it's all for one reason, I know how big a fish that's casually eats a screaming rodent pattern can be. Bringing me to my point, the Trout Bum's new venture "Haus of Mouse" could not have made more sense to me and when he called me to ask if I would come on board it didn't take me long to get excited, especially when you have seen what I have seen.
Facing the summer doldrums this year I took on what seems to be an annual undertaking. With trout fishing slowing down during the summer heat I decided to do something new this year, fish a way I have never fished, pursue something I have never been interested in. The one fish that caught my fancy off the bat was without a doubt the Musky. Being the fisherman that I am, I am not capable of pursuing anything in a liesure manner so I took on a partner in my new pursuit and the journey began. We learned rather quickly that to fish for these beasts successfully , you needed more than a few good flies and high hopes so what started as a way to pass time during the summer turned into months of research. I dug through countless articles, spoke to tribesman, read newspaper reports, called locals, bought books, equipment, and spent hours going over maps and arial photos.
Eventually the day came when we thought we were armed with the information and gear we needed so we gathered ourselves and were finally on our way to fish for these beasts armed only with what little information we could find and an understanding that we was more than likely not going to even see one, especially chasing them on the fly.
Arriving at the put in later than we would like but full of hope and dreams we started pounding the water with determination. I can't lie, after three or so hours I was begining to resign myself to the fact that the next nine hours of the float would be no different and and hour later I found myself lighting up a spliff and daydreaming during my turn on the paddles, when my thoughts were interrupted by Mike shouting at the top of his lungs "FOLLOW, FOLLOW, FOLLOW!" I turned around just in time to see a cruie missle at least 12 feet long (rule of three) charging after his fly only to dissappear under the boat. My good friend Mike than began to figure 8 the best he could sitting down in a canoe holding a nine foot rod and that is when the unthinkable happened, the fish actually ate the fly. It was the most violent earth shattering take I have ever seen and I can honestly say I am hooked for life. To make a long story short, throughout the remainder of the day we managed to hook six more fish! The following pictures explain the rest of my story.

Although that is not a mouse hanging from this fishes mouth I wanted to post this photo because it is an identical fish to the one that did eat the scuba mouse only an hour before, of course I didnt get a photo but any musky that eats a fly is badass anyway.

Aug 6, 2010

Mousing Northern Wisconsin - Three Mouseketeers

Will Parke and co. headed for the North Woods of Wisconsin this past week and have been doing some night mousing for big browns. Look at these critter eaters.

Aug 5, 2010

Daytime Mousing

Yep. You read right. I tried this shenanigan during the day. I actually got two nice bulges under the fly but was not able to connect. I used a Melchiors Mouse clipped real short and tied smaller than the nocturnal version I usually fish. I fished it upstream like a giant terrestrial, which technically, I guess it is. I think I'll be able to get this to work. Anyway Haus of Mouse friend Carl McNeil made it so. Why can't a guy on a Wisconsin trout stream?

Aug 2, 2010

Mouse fishing tips from New Zealand - Some Words From Carl McNeil of Once in a Blue Moon

A few weeks ago I stumbled upon McNeil's Mad Mouse. Carl sent me some great mouse fishing wisdom from the other side of the planet. The mouse fishing sequences in Carl's movie Once in a Blue Moon are truly incredible. In one scene Carl mouses up a big Rainbow in broad daylight. Anyhow here are some tips on tying mouse patterns and fishing them courtesy of Carl McNeil...

Yep, I'm the Once in a Blue Moon guy, that was me casting mice in the film.
The pattern you refer to was designed by me and is manufactured and distributed by Manic Tackle here in New Zealand. I have a few more coming so will fire some over to you if you send me your address.

The 'pattern' is actually pretty simple - less of a pattern and more of a design principle really...

It's just a tightly spun deer hair fly trimmed into a teardrop shape to make casting easier.
A large gape hook is very important - 'Bows tend not to take on the fish attempt, they smash at it and come back for another go.
Tail - a rubber band, or thin zonker strip with the hair trimmed off is fine.
Legs - important.  Rubber bands or crazy legs tied in during the spinning - Knot em if you can be bothered.

Eyes, ears and whiskers are entirely optional - the commercial ones have them because they look cool - no other reason, the fish can't see em.

The retrieve is all important when fishing any mouse pattern.  There's lots of mouse swimming footage on our YouTube channel -

Jul 26, 2010

Melchior's Mouse

I had a chance to stop in a great local fly-shop up in the North Suburbs the other day called Trout and Grouse. I like to swing in and bug the fine folks there. Paul Melchior is part of the team over there and has decades of fly-fishing experience drawn from all over the world. Paul runs Angling Escapes as well and specializes in creating destination fly-fishing experiences that have taken anglers all over the globe in search of everything from Steelhead to Bonefish to freshwater Dorado.

Paul showed me this mouse pattern and I was blown away. In fact, I tied one up immediately when I got home and have been waiting to see Paul's final version. Paul explains in his own words below:

I have been a mouse “fan” for many years and have caught trout, bass, etc with them not only on local trout streams but in distant fisheries like Argentina and Chile as well.

I was thinking about the traditional deer hair mice and while they look realistic, because so many are trimmed in the front, tend to dive when they get wet.  That’s not how a mouse swims…they hold their head high, with their body submerged.  I know the Morrish Mouse is quite a popular pattern, with the foam on the top but I thought the design was backwards…the foam should prop up the body from underneath, with the hair creating the profile, and thus my pattern was born.  My first version used just one layer of foam, with the second generation using two layers for greater floatation and a bit more rigidity at the front.

The fly can be swum steadily, pulsed back and even popped a bit.  One or two false casts dries off the hair quickly and the fly floats high and lands correctly each time.  I use a Tiemco 8089 hook so I have a nice wide gap, which I think is vital in getting good hook sets, often on very aggressive strikes.  I use a heavy thread, Flymaster 210 for tying the fly so I can be sure to pull as hard as I want on each bunch of deer hair and also really crimp the foam at the front of the fly.  Clearly GelSpun thread is as strong but tends to cut materials when pulling too hard while the 210, being wider, has more cushioning effect.

Future versions might include some sort of rubber legs out to the side.  I have always been skeptical about tails on mice patterns ever since several Alaskan guides, who fished mice all summer, noted that trout tended to grab the tail and try to drown the real mice (really a lemming in Alaska) rather than eat it whole.  I have never noted any lack of success on patterns without tails.


Jul 25, 2010

Tying Mike's Mousekeeteer / Will ties the "Gurgleteer"

Getting excited about the prospects of some serious night fishing in a couple of weeks I have been tying up some big trout munitions. I really liked Mike Schmidt's Mouseketeer which was posted on both sites a little bit ago so I dressed a few. Showing my little brother my rendition he pulled one of them out of the box by the tail, holding it just far enough away from his face that it would not be able to bite him. After staring at it for a few moments, he turned to me with a look of disgusted incredulity and said, "I have no idea what this thing is, but it looks like a mutant beetle-capiller."

We discussed the pattern and night fishing for a little while afterwards and came to the conclusion that we are extremely excited to throw them in the darkness and are very appreciative for Mike introducing it to us.

I took the Mouseketeer and really ran with it. And by ran with it I mean that I tied the fly the exact same way, and then added a bunch of rubber legs. Call me an innovator.

I have also been tying a non-articulated pattern. It is another version of the venerable Gartside Gurgler.

It is tied on a size 2 TMC 8089 with a size 8 octopus hook dropped off the back with furled 20lb Maxima. Some people may disagree with a stinger, but I have also been told that big trout have been known to drag varmints underwater by their tails. So I figure, if a leviathan grabs the tail of my fly, I would prefer that tail to have a hook.

The tail is a marabou on top of some bucktail. The back and head is 3/8" evasote foam, the body is palmered schlappen, and the legs are rubber. Gurgler and Mouseketeer inspired. A Gurglerketeer. Yeah, I don't think that name is sticking.

--Will Parke (---Read more about Will's exploits at his home blog: The Chicago Trout Bum---)

Jul 19, 2010

Matt Puts a Mouse Trout On The Board

My friend Matt knows that mousing raises big fish... and small ones too. Night mousing is a productive method and this time of year, it will raise fish both big and small. Matt and I were talking the other day about how crazy it is that some of these smaller year class trout jump on a meal like a giant mouse pattern. Matt was tossing a black modified gurgler to these fish. If you zoom in on the photo, he has a similar fly pinned to his vest. Thanks for the submission Matt.

Night Mousing Clinic With Hawkins Outfitters

Waking up the Night
July 31st, 2010

Arguably one of the most exciting and reliable ways to target “Trophy Class Trout” today is fishing at night with surface flies. Join Hawkins Outfitters this summer and learn more about the popular technique commonly referred to as “Mousing”. This class will cover everything from fly selection to fly presentation. We will discuss rod and line selection, rigging, fly presentation, casting safety with large flies, and reading water. Physical factors such as temperature and moon phase can also be critical to your success and we will cover these aspects as well. This class is designed for the intermediate to advanced angler and some casting experience will be required to benefit from this course. The “night time is the right time” and Big Trout can often be caught off their guard when the lights go out. I suspect a couple of trophies will be blinded by our flashing lights during this course! This class will be taught on either the Pere Marquette or Manistee Rivers. The cost of the school is $200/ person.

Jul 17, 2010

McNeil's Mad Mouse

I'm trying to track down the tier behind this sharp looking mouse pattern. I've linked the photo back to the site where I found this. If you're out there Mr. McNeil, we'd love to hear from you. I dig the knotted rubber legs.

Check out the site I pulled this down from: Manic Tackle Project

Hawkins Outfitters - Tommy Lynch Mouse Tying Demo Pt 1.

Jul 14, 2010

Mike Schmidt's Mouseketeer

Mike Schmidt of Angler's Choice Flies is an Ohio based tier and angler who is breaking new ground with his innovative fly-tying. Mike and I began corresponding a little while back. Mike was kind enough to send over a full step-by-step of his Mouseketeer fly. Enjoy the step by step and be sure to tie a Mouseketeer up for your next trip.


Thread: UTC140, black
Hook: Gamagatsu B10S size 2 and 4
Tail: Round rubber legs, black
Body1: Evasote sheet foam (1/8"), black
Body2: Schlappen, black
Body3: Medium foam tube, black (optional)
STEP 1: With your Gamagatsu B10S size 4 in the vise, get your black 140 denier thread started at the head and then wrap back down the hook a few wraps to secure it in place.
STEP 2: Take three connected pieces of black round rubber legs to form the mouse tail. Tie them in hanging off the back of the hook three to four inches and finish with your thread at the rear tie in point located half way between the hook point and the barb.
STEP 3: Cut a 3/4" wide strip of 1/8" thick evasote foam. Tie in the strip of foam securely with your thread ending up back at the rear tie in point.
STEP 4: At the rear tie in point secure a black schlappen feather by the tip then palmer it forward eight to ten wraps up to the head of the rear hook.
STEP 5: Split the fibers as evenly as you can down the hook shank and then pull the foam strip forward to the eye. Once you have a tight couple of wraps cut the strip off soyou can see the eye and then finish securing it with a few more wraps and a whip finish right behind the hook eye.
STEP 6: Place your Gamagatsu B10S size 2 in the vise and secure the rear of the fly using a two inch piece of 30lb Fireline. Wrap tightly up and down the shank twice with a dot of Zap a Gap to ensure the rear hook is not going anywhere.
STEP 7: Cut a arc in to another piece of foam and securely attach it at the rear tie in point. The arc should extend back and cover the eye of the rear hook. Doing so allows the hooks to swivel but keeps a solid profile from below.
STEP 8: Just in front of the foam tie in another schlappen feather and palmer it forward. Be sure to leave a bit over 1/8" of space to the hook eye then tie it off and clip.
STEP 8B: (OPTIONAL) If you are fishing faster water or simply want the pattern to sit just a little higher in the water then you can do so by adding a bit more foam to the front hook. After you tie in the schlappen then secure a piece of 1/8" evasote foam tubing. Prepare the tubing by cutting it to length and cut a slit down the length of the piece to allow it to form around the hook. Once the tubing is tied in the palmer the feather forward over the tubing.
STEP 9: As you did on the back hook, split the fibers as evenly as you can down the hook shank and then pull the foam strip forward towards the eye and secure the foam with half a dozen wraps.
STEP 10: Force a fold in the foam and tie it down just behind the eye. This piece of foam will push a significant amount of water and give you a nice big wake to attract fish.
From above you can see it really looks more like a nuclear enhanced ant…but in the water at night it holds a solid silhouette against the sky and pushes a lot of water around. Tied correctly this fly tracks like a charm and is extremely durable. When I fish this pattern I am using heavy tippet to help control both the fly and whatever eats it, and attach it using a Jam Knot as I do on most all my streamers. Tie some up and get them wet!

Thanks for the great step-by-step on your Mouseketeer Mike. You can find Mike Schmidt's patterns online at Angler's Choice Flies. Mike lives in Ohio and fishes widely in the Midwest.

The Gartside Gurgler

Jack Gartside's famous creature pattern, the Gartside Gurgler, has become a true favorite for raising big fish, whether in salt or fresh water. My friend Will likes to tie this fly in a variety of dark colors for use on local trout streams. The Gurgler's foam lip pushes water and throws a perfect v-shaped wake and draws vicious strikes. Check out this step by step on the Jack Gartside website. Gartside passed on not too long ago, but his contributions to the sport live on every time we tie or fish one of his infamous patterns.

This salient point's of this pattern such as over-wrapped foam and semi-circle lip at the head of the fly re-appear in many of the popular mouse patterns we tie today. I'm going to peel away from the keyboard right now and tie a few of these guys up.

Jul 12, 2010

Mouse Fishing Pictures from Charles

Angling friend Charles Weary sent me this shot of a nice german mouse-eater. Of course the man who throws a fly called the mud-puppy for Musky would mouse fish spring creeks. Thanks for the picture bud. Charles has tied into numerous Musky this season, landing several on his signature mud-puppy pattern. When we going fishing?