Year of mouse….
As you may have heard about the myth of NZ mouse year. It goes on 4 -5 year cycle following the year of beach tree flowering, which creates a lot of beach seeds at the end of the summer. This beach tree flowering phenomenon goes country wide in NZ. Once it starts at the top of North Island, it follows south as the spring arrives, it does not happen on a set year cycle, but somehow all beach trees know which year to go. It truly is a wonder of a nature. Strangely enough beach forest in NZ flowered up last 2 springs consecutively. Rodents in wild such as mice and rats etc… capitalizing on the mass food supply and breeding numbers with turbo charge for last 2 summers.
Department of Conservation in NZ counters this with poison (1080) drop in national park areas to keep the rodent’s numbers down, (This is a separate debate we will talk some other time).
Accordingly the rest of food chain will benefit the extra feed from it as well, touts are no exception to that.
They capitalize on the bathing habits of mice in the dark to get much needed protein super dose.
This mouse eating habits of trout is nothing new and it happens each year, however on the mice expansion year trout are more eager to get mouth to them, and start habituating shallow waters of forest lines as the dusk falls. And they sure will not miss their opportunities when the mice start swimming across the streams or lakes.
This is all good news for trouts and anglers trying to catch them. This is the time of the year we get to try some rather large flies and try hooking up the large fish in the dark. Night fishing has elements of lucky dip, as you don’t know how big or what fish they are until you hook up, I personally caught anything from 2lb to 9lb (Brown trout, Rainbow trout and Eel) on the mouse pattern. We use Long shank #6 – #1 mouse or flog patters to shadow the calmer water lines, either swinging or twitching slightly to put life into flies and wait for an explosion on the top water. When the trout attacks mouse, rats or even the birds, it is not a subtle sip on the surface, they know they have to hit them with force not to let the play get away, as well as not giving rodents a chance to fight back.
Quite often you could see the explosion on the water in the dark across the stream, and it certainly makes one mighty splash.
If you are not used to fishing in the dark it can be a little eerie experience and certainly dangerous at times. Key to a successful night fishing is to scout the areas you will be fishing for, before the dark and stick to safety parameter you set on the scout, wear a safety glasses to cover your eyes (that’s one part of the body you cannot recover out of damage), and most importantly have a fishing buddy with you. If you have never done mouse fishing before, ask for information at your local pro-shop or ask local angers to show you the way, unlike fishing during the day time, night fishing you do not need to move as much, and it can be quite a social event.
Otago and Southland mouse season has already started and trout are pouncing on the roadents on warm evenings. We certainly can cater for a guided mouse fishing trip through out Otago & Southland waterways.
Get out there and give mouse fishing a go, while it is hot.
If you need any help, just call us or drop us a line.
Big splash & Tight lines