In a recent post, oh-so cleverly titled Mousing Accomplished, I related how my pledge to catch a trout on a deer hair mouse pattern while on a brief summer tour of Alaska was saved at nearly the last opportunity by a stroke of good luck. The good news is, my experience was entirely atypical, thanks to a preposterous, never-before-seen Alaskan heat wave. Normally, luring voracious Alaskan rainbows to swung and skated deer hair mouse patterns is relatively easy and fantastically entertaining monkey business.
The picture above of the stomach contents of an unintentionally mortally wounded trout caught on the Kanektok River, shared by the staff of the Togiak National Wildlife Refuge in southwestern Alaska, should provide all the proof one would ever need to confidently tie on a mouse pattern when hunting Alaskan rainbow trout.
To be fair, the unfortunate souls above are those of the common shrew, and not mice. This is, however, an altogether unimportant distinction. The point is that trout like rodents. A lot.
Despite their affinity for rodents, finding almost 20 in the belly of any one trout is a bit unusual. The folks at Togiak National Wildlife refuge have suggested that bank erosion may have led to an unexpected swim for a family of shrews, much to the trout's delight. But it's also worth noting that shrews don't only end up in the water accidentally, or on a daring dash to cross to the other side. Shrews feed almost consistently due to their incredibly high metabolism and even do so aquatically, diving to the bottom of water bodies to feed on aquatic invertebrates, able to hold their breath for up to a minute.
ginkthefly replied on Permalink
You've got to be kidding me ...
DDon replied on Permalink
This is the single greatest thing I have ever seen!
Can you camp on the KTOK in the Togiak National Wildlife refuge?
Rolski_ replied on Permalink
Such a unique pic. Cool, crazy and amazing yet gross all at the same time.
Mike Stills replied on Permalink
I saw someone asking this on reddit, and I'm curious to know too:
How does a fish digest all those bones? Would that fish even have survived with all those bones in its stomach?
mar10 replied on Permalink
Mike Stills, think about the fish eaten by the trout--bones and all. The same bones that threaten your own gullet.
I've caught bass with an equally-sized bass tail protruding from its mouth. Greedy bastage... greed proved its undoing. As with this un-shrew'd trout.
Chad Shmukler replied on Permalink
The stomach and intestinal walls of most fish are much thicker and more flexible than humans.
scott owen replied on Permalink
I like it! Great work, time to tie up some fur balls!
tyson pardue replied on Permalink
I was on a trip in russia with some scientists that were disecting various trout. In one large trout - not inly did we find a bunch of voles just like the picture here - there was also a weasle of some sort. My guess is the weasle was also hunting the voles, but got the tables turned on it.