Saturday, October 22, 2016

EZ Mouse

     Kind of a stretch for the Soft~Hackle Journal to offer a fly meant to simulate a mammal, I admit. Take my word for it I am suitably shame-faced while writing this. But I did see that film where the Mongolian guide skinned a lemming, stuffed the skin with foam packing peanuts, & sewed the whole thing onto a hook to create a damn realistic (& great-floating) lemming fly, then used it to catch a giant taimen. Six foot long trout. Inspiring stuff. And besides that, the little mouse fly is just too cute.  

But there’s nothing cute about trout large enough to want to eat a mouse, or the way they’ll eat it, & that’s probably the real reason I flaunt the mouse pattern here. I suspect the idea of fishing a mouse as bait appeals to my dark side – the side that lurks on the bank at night, casting blind, lasciviously skating a giant fly, anticipating a savage bulge that will trouble the water & rise like an infuriated Creature from the Black Lagoon suddenly busting from the inky stream to crush the hapless mousy meat. Nothin wrong with a little excitement in the dark. Sport.

Funny thing is: that kind of nocturnal behavior often occurs on water so technical, in daylight, there is only the wisp of a chance that same fish will even sniff your #22 Trico or BWO fished on a 20-foot leader.

We generally associate hair-mouse lures with bassing or night fishing for brown trout, though big rainbows like them too (results on a secret spring creek do attest). Bull trout love them. And I suspect the imitation might work well anywhere there are sizeable trout & active mice present, regardless what species the trout. Certainly a good pattern to have in the kit. Well worth a few casts over a favorite spring creek after an evening hatch has dwindled into darkness. You never know.    

Staying versatile (The Dude abides), I’m committed to fishing the mouse next season more often than I have in the past, so’ve been playing with deer hair designs looking for a quick one. At night (when the imitation is best fished) you probably don’t need anything more than a wad of hair, & some tie just a ball of clipped deer hair for the body, but I wanted something that would fairly satisfy my aesthetic opinion on a swimming mouse profile, while easy to tie without a lot of hair packing & trimming.

EZ Mouse

Hook: #4 light wire hook

Thread: strong

Tail: a single saddle hackle – gray, light ginger or white are good

Body: deer hair – tie in about mid-shank, arranging a thick collar around the hook shank, hair tips extending slightly beyond the hook bend – tie in more deer hair, then pack & trim to mousy head shape.

Ears: probably not necessary but, to satisfy my own sense of aesthetics, I added 2, made from orange art foam (I was out of pink)

Eyes: Also probably not necessary, & mine is tied without them ~


  1. Steve -

    Great! I have to admit I am a mousing novice.

    I've a couple buddies who want to go mousing (big trout guys) and one of them has a casting technique well suited to "mousing" presentation. (Ahem. His Adam's fly "splats").

    I will give the mouse tie a little work this winter. I've looked at a couple patterns including a couple requiring the use of a double-edged razor blade for shaping. This guy looks better for me. I can't hold a pen when my paw pads are covered in stitches.

    I'll give him a try. I've got the water for it. I've got the buddies for it.

    1. Spike, I keep the razor in a special drawer. Scissors is all you need for this one. Cat-just-dropped-it-on-the-porch is the look to go for.

  2. I shared this with my facebook group, Palmetto Fly N' Fish. Here's what I wrote...

    "Here's an interesting take on the popular 'mouse fly.'

    Most current mouse flies start with a wad of foam and a heap of deer hair - and things take off skyward from there. Ears, tails, eyes legs... these things are so realistic they might just steal the cheese from your sandwich.

    But Steve Bird, man behind The Soft Hackle Journal, has crafted up a different sort of mouse, one that doesn't follow the trend. They say people will beat path to your door for a better mousetrap.
    But how about a mouse?"

  3. D, this one's about as simple (impressionistic) as it gets. Also a good bait where appropriate.

    I suspect the fanciful, foamy, plastic-eyed versions are designed to satisfy their creators more than anything.

    '...when true simplicity is gained, to bow & bend we'll not be ashamed...'

    Thanks for sharing the article.