Simple Mouse Fly

Mouse flies are often used for pike, inconnue, muskie, bass and large trout with many different patterns available.

A lot of these patterns come with eyes, whiskers and nicely trimmed deer bodies along with a hefty price tag. I believe these extras are not necessary.

Below, I will tell you how to tie a very simplified version of this mouse fly. It is easy to tie, cheap, requires a minimum amount of trimming and works just as well as those expensive flies.

Pike are predators that eat grayling, lake trout and whitefish. By keeping them, you can help keep them in check.

Once you get the knack of tying in the deer hair (muddler style), you can tie these flies quickly and easily. The body is simply a series of muddler deer hair heads.

I like fly tying, but I like these simple effective flies so I can spend more time fly fishing. Since pike are known to destroy flies, you will need a few.

The first picture shows three different coloured mouse flies: olive, natural and chocolate brown.


For tying stacked deer hair, always use 6/0 thread. For tying caribou hair which is softer, 8/0 can be used.

For stacking deer hair, consider using a pill bottle that your thumb will fit in; this is the perfect size for deer hair. Any pharmacist will gladly give you one of these plastic bottles.


Hook: Bartleet traditional 2/0 (any large hook with a wide gap)

Thread: Black 6/0 Unithread

Tail: Brown scintilla fly-buoy foam (1 hook length)

Body: Spun deer hair (muddler style and trimmed on the bottom)

Whiskers: None

Eyes: None

Ears: None


Step 1

Make a good base by wrapping thread over the hook shank.

Tie in the fly-buoy foam strip for the tail.

Step 2

Cut off a bunch of deer body hair, stack in a hair stacker and make an even cut on the thick ends of deer hair.

Tie in this clump at the base of hook (where you tied in the tapered tail).

Expose just a bit of the cut deer ends and anchor with about six to eight tight strong turns.

Make sure the deer hair is evenly distributed around the hook shank.

Pull back on the deer hair (as when you are making a muddler head) and make a few turns through it and bring the thread forward.

This sounds complicated but actually is quite easy.

Step 3

Continue this operation all along the shank of the hook. The trick is to hold the stacked deer hair so that there is just a bit of exposed cut deer hair.

What you are tying is a series of muddler heads.

Push backwards on each head for a compact tight body.

Step 4

When you have tied up to the eye of the hook, your fly will look like the one in this photo.

Finish the head with the lacquer or varnish of your choice.

Step 5

Trim the deer hair on the bottom so your fly will look like the one in this photo.

Bruce Ross has been hooked on fly fishing and tying his own flies since the early 1970s and has fished throughout Canada and the US. Contact him at [email protected]


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