Virtual Trip - Upper Base Camp - Kanektok River with Dave Duncan and Sons - Alaska

One of the many mouse patterns we used is shown above - this one tied by Clint proved especially deadly. I fished this same mouse for 2 days before losing it to a tree limb. You want to be aggressive with your casts - getting it close to shore or structure.


Susan fishing to structure in a side channel..

The many salmon carcasses provide nutrients for the river and the fish..

The mouse pattern was my fly of choice for the Kanektok Rainbow. I know I could have probably hooked and landed more using a flesh/egg pattern, but there is nothing like the take you get when using a mouse.

After the cast toward structure, you want the mouse to "swim" - not too fast, not too slow. A small wake behind the mouse is perfect. Sometimes a little pop will help. It's a lot like fishing poppers to bass, only not too much pop - more swim with a little pop added for emphasis... then get ready.

You are never sure what kind of take you will get - they come in all flavors. There is the dunk and grab. Here the trout comes up and appears to grab the tail and dunk it, The mouse pops back up with the trout waiting underneath for the mouse to struggle - then it attacks!! It is not unusual for the mouse to travel 10 feet or more after the initial grab before it really takes it.

Then there is the "Jaws" take. You see the wake coming - sometimes see a fin. Then it just devours the mouse.

Many times it is more subtle - a more common top water strike. Here the trout takes the mouse in and heads back down. The angler with patience and nerves of steel has the best chance here. You wait for a count of one - two - three then strike as hard as you can - the harder the better. If you don't stick these trout with all your might, they won't stay on long. Even if you do, there is no guarantee it will not come unbuttoned.


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