A note from Kyle Wilkinson:
“The conditions have to be right to get a mouse bite in Southcentral Alaska. You need fairly low, clear water with structure and a bit of ripple or a foam line on the surface to hide a trout’s outline. You have to slap the mouse tight to the structure and get that thing moving! A real mouse wants to get the heck out of there because it knows it’s toast. Swim it back against the current to create a wake. The most crucial part is the hookset. You HAVE to wait for the fish to turn and feel the weight of the trout BEFORE setting the hook. No dry fly hooksets. You’ll pull it out of their mouth every time.”
Case. In. Point.
“My friend Court (@flyingparret) and I were doing an exploratory mission after a guide trip. We picked out a small side channel that was full of small pools backed by logjams and woody structure. Perfect mousing habitat. Court slapped his chunky mouse pattern in front of the log and twitched it back towards us when the big ‘bow came out and waked on it. The trout refused it twice before turning around and absolutely smashing it. Perhaps it was the angle of the hookset, or too fast, or too slow, but the mouse slipped out of the fish’s mouth and the trout turned back to its shadowy lair. We made more casts through there right afterwards, but we weren’t able to bring him back out again.”