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.
The days are hot and it’s bright out there. Many of the mayflies have been gone for weeks. River currents are warming, clearing and dropping to seasonal lows. And the trout are riding out the lull between the epic hatches and full-on hopper season. They’re notoriously fickle, easily spooked, and opportunistic eaters at best.
In other words, it’s my favorite time to fly fish.
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...