Night fishing for Trout, Fly fishing with Large Mouse Patterns

This post was last updated on February 18th, 2015 at 01:53 am

Fly rods rigged with mouse patterns.
A couple typical mouse patterns rigged with heavy line ready for a night of action.

Large Floating Flies for Brown Trout at Night

Fishing after dark for trout can be one of the most exciting things you have ever done. Just imagine.. You can’t see your hand in front of your face, the whiporwills are singing (a large bird that sings at night) and you are waste deep facing a deep hole in your favorite trout stream. You aren’t sure if your leader is full of knots, frankly it doesn’t really matter because your fly is tied onto 14# test.

Night fishing for brown trout, huge brown
The Biggest brown trout are all feeding heavily at night.

You begin to cast even though you really aren’t sure how far you are from the bank. You know there is an overhanging tree somewhere over to the right but you cast anyway. After the cast you can tell that your fly is indeed on the water, because you don’t feel or hear branches shaking. You start to slowly strip your fly back towards yourself, making small pop noises on the water with each strip. Out of nowhere you hear a distinct pop over near the bank, simultaneously  you can feel the tension of a brown trout pulling back, because there was no slack at all in your line. You begin to feel almost frightened because of how large this fish feels. Struggling to get your headlamp turned on to get oriented, the fish starts on a blistering run toward a log jam. Now that you can see where you are and where the fish is headed you begin to calm down and concentrate on landing the fish.
This is a pretty common scenario when night fishing for trout. The dead silence way out in nature alone in the middle of the night, is broken by the smash of a large trout eating the fly. The thought of a brown trout eating a mouse pattern is one of the most exciting things that comes to mind.

Tips for catching brown trout at night

mouse fly floating brown trout flies
A typical mouse pattern for Large brown trout

The main thing you will need to be successful fishing at night for trout is a thorough knowledge of the river you plan to fish. You will not want to walk into a 7 foot deep hole in the middle of the night. If you are planning to pull off night fishing, you will hopefully already have a lot of experience casting during the day. Night time without any lights on is not a good time to learn how to fly fish.

The Technique for catching large brown trout at night


Night fly fishing for trout with mouse flies
Night fishing is very effective from a boat if you know the river.

My general rule is to never, ever let a light hit the hole you plan to fish. You cannot walk up to a hole, shine your light on it and expect to catch large trout. It simply will not happen! On occasion maybe, but not with any type of consistency. If you are fishing a river that you are not intimately familiar with, and you are not sure where the overhangs are you can use a red filter on your light. I have found that to not frighten fish as much as a bright white light. Don’t stand there with your light on your head glaring into the hole though, just do one quick flash of light into the trees above the hole. Pay quick attention to how far you have between you and the bank, and any trees that might catch your fly. Make your first cast, if you hear your fly hit the bank, pull in a couple feet of line and cast again. Pull your fly in with short strips, trying to make some popping noises and make some sort of wake with your fly. You will have to experiment with different retrieves, because the fish don’t eat the same way every trip out. Envision what a large fly or mouse would look like struggling on the water and start with that. You can also “swing” your flies for brown trout at night. This would be where you cast toward the opposite bank and just let the current do the work. This can be pretty exciting, just be sure to hold tightly onto your rod, large trout have been know to rip them out of peoples hands.

The Gear for night fishing for brown trout

You will need a stout rod, preferably a 9′ 6 weight. Try to use a reel that has some drag, I know all the old school fly fisherman tend to like click pawl reels, but get with the program! You could be hooking trout up to 15#’s in the middle of the night, don’t you think a little would come in handy?

  • Line: I would advise using a nice weight forward line that is capable of turning over large flies. You are going to be throwing some weight, you might as well make it easier on yourself. As for the leader, I like them short, real short! 3 feet of straight up 20# monofilament will do nicely.You can leave you 9′ 6x leaders at home.
  • Flies: I don’t think the exact fly pattern really makes a difference. If it is large, bulky and will make some racket on the water it will work.  I like to throw very dark flies. It is a proven fact that dark colored flies create more contrast against a night sky and will be easier for the fish to key in on.

Go out and give night fishing for trout a try, I have caught 9 out of my 10 largest fish between 12 am and 6 am. Don’t forget you can also catch other trout species at night. I have caught some tremendous cutthroat and even a few really big brook trout after the sun went down. Once the sun sets, the real monsters begin feeding!

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