When other anglers choose to sit things out, I beat a hasty path to my home waters in Michigan specifically to play some "night games." Because now is when I have a chance to surprise myself and make the big fish eat, provided I know what fly to throw and how to make it dance, just so. Here's a little primer to help you fish after-hours flies...
Midsummer is mouse season, plain and simple. Darker, moonless nights are best. Bang the banks with a mouse pattern, and make that fly act like a panicked rodent that just took a very wrong step. Twitch it, pop it, swim it, and you may be shocked to learn what's really living in the deep run next to the logjam.
Any classic deer hair mouse pattern will work. Fancy details in fly design really don't matter. It's good for a mouse fly to have a tail, but ears, whiskers and eyeballs are all window dressings meant to attract anglers more than fish. A big ball of fur popping and rolling through a slack current is plenty - it looks like a T-bone steak for the trout that's been hunkered under cover all day.
Add a Splash
In faster currents, it's important to add some splash and commotion to the mix. I like the flat-faced mouse because it looks and behaves like a popper, and trout, like bass, will react to the surface splashes. My only beef is that I'd change the face of this fly to have an open mouth with a tongue hanging out ... maybe fangs. This is, after all, the mouse that bites back.
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