Urban myth or truth ??
Mouse eating trout are not an old wives’ tale, but an event that happens every five or six years in New Zealand.
This is the result of the three species of native beech tree all seeding at the same time,
which results in an abundance of available mouse food and the explosion of the mice population.
The mice move their way through the beech forests and regularly cross the rivers in search of more beech seed.
Trout, being the opportunist feeders they are, soon tune into the large bundles of protein available to them and
have no hesitation in walloping them at every opportunity!
If it’s a ‘mouse year’ then expect plenty of brown trout in the 7–9 pound bracket.
This huge increase in trout food means that they rapidly gain large amounts of weight - trout can put on 4 pound in a few weeks on this diet!
Generally, one does not use a mouse pattern to catch these leviathans – your normal dry or nymph pattern will do the trick.
Well last season, all three species of native beech trees all flowered.
And I’m here to tell you that in the last week or so, I’ve seen mice in the garden, mice along the river and the farmers are reporting mice in their hay sheds.
(thankfully we don’t have any in the lodge!).
The last mouse year was in the 2000–2001 season so another one is overdue!
It’s no coincidence that it was during the last “mouse year” in March 2001 that I managed to land my two largest brown trout, 12.5lb and 11.5lb respectively.
It’s also with a certain amount of pride that I can share with you that these two beauties were caught on the Matakitaki River – which is a mere 20 minute drive from the lodge.