Wednesday, June 17, 2015

"Vole-Vasion": Year of the Mouse 2.0

All the ingredients are there.  It could be good.

A couple weeks ago I found myself perusing the local newspaper during a slow moment at work.  While scanning for a captivating headline I happened upon an article titled "Vole-Vasion." It was in the farm and ranch section. Words like "plaque," "mild winter," and "epidemic" were used to describe the current rise in vole population. If you are a farmer, rancher, or like having a yard less holy than a priest, this is bad news.  As I read through the article I couldn't help but think of the implications on the mousing expeditions yet to come throughout the rapidly approaching summer.  The gist of the article was that voles (and I am assuming mice fit into the same category) were already a big problem going into our previous fall season and Idaho never really got the hard freeze it is so accustomed to. The harsh cold usually kills and slows rodent populations.  The result was the already burgeoning vole population from the previous fall has exploded.  The population supposedly grows and shrinks with a regularity like a pendulum swinging back and forth.  It's a 10-12 year cycle and we happen to be on a peak.  Bad news for the green thumbs and country folk who like their lawns less pitted but such good news for an angler wanting to chuck a fly that resembles a little furry mammal.

It was with these high hopes that we hit the road about 9:30 in the pm.  It was a cloudless and dark night.  Cruising down the empty highway we spied the intermittent critter scooting across the road. "Why did the mouse cross the road?"  Who knows, but there were a ton of them!  All the mice on the road bolstered my confidence in hitting the water.  After parking we climbed out of the car to cool air and a star-filled sky.  The milky way is so stunning on moonless nights, especially when you get away from civilization.  We quickly rigged up and hit the water.  First cast, SPLOOSH!  The characteristic toilet-bowl-flush/water-exploding sound gets the adrenaline going! It was a swing and a miss, but it still instilled confidence.  The night was spent with far more misses than hits, but there were so many explosions it was a hoot.  The Artimouse worked stripped and dead drifted. These browns tore line from the reel like crazy.  One even gave me a line burn. Mousing is so addicting!

I had taken a break from fishing and social media over the past month. It was a fitting trip to resume angling. The article had it right.  It's like Mars Attacks, only with mice/voles.  The implication?  This summer could be epic.

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