We are still months away from Alaska thawing out but the Last Frontier is always on our mind. One of our favorite ways to fish Alaska is with a fly that imitates a rodent. It is an excellent way to cover water and target big fish. There are a range of different mouse flies and types of water that we will fish them in but the following are some general guidelines we like to follow when mousing.
- Fish it. Regardless of where your cast lands, do not pick it up and recast. Trout have great eye sight and will come from long distances to eat a meal like a mouse. They do not like to see a mouse fly out of the water as you go to recast.
- Cover water. If a fish is going to eat a mouse, it is going to eat it. It didn’t ignore it because your fly landed 5 inches to the left. We like to fish fast with mouse flies and find the big, aggressive fish.
- Pound the bank. Our first casts are towards the bank. Big trout in Alaska are used to seeing rodents jump in the water to swim across the river. Often these big fish sit right along the shore or undercut banks, waiting for that tasty meal to present itself.
- Swing. After you have fished the bank, go ahead and throw a cast mid river. Here we like to let the current swing the fly downstream as we use the rod tip to add additional movement . This will give the fly a wake as it swings across. Often you will see a second wake appear as a big leopard appears behind it.
- God save the queen. This may be the hardest part of mousing, letting the fish eat! It will be very visual as a trout comes in to attack but resist your urge to set. Similar to swinging a fly, you don’t want to set until you feel the deep pull letting you know the fly is securely in the fish’s mouth. Often times a trout will swat at a fly before it eats. If you don’t set on the first swipe, it will come back and actually eat. Even if you are convinced it ate, say “God save the queen,” then set.
More On Mousing: