The Basics - Trout Fishing using Mudeyes

The Basics - Trout Fishing using Mudeyes

Trout Fishing with Mudeyes

By Jamie Harris


Fishing for Trout using the humble Mudeye for bait would have to be not only one of the most effective ways to catch a Trout but it’s also one of the easiest and most enjoyable ways too! In this article you will learn:

- Where to find mudeyes to use for bait

- How to set your Mudeyes for Trout fishing

- What gear to use when Trout fishing

- How to put it all together and land yourself a trout



What is a Mudeye you ask? A Mudeye is the final larvae stage of a Dragonfly and it just happens to be one of a Trout’s favoured and more common foods. That said, it would be very rare to have a Trout refuse a well presented Mudeye bait, even when they are actively feeding on something completely different, they will happily scoff it down with gusto.

Most, if not all Trout waters will have Mudeyes present. The most obvious sign is when you see Dragonflys out and about. They are most active in the warmer months but that said, they can be used effectively just about any time of the year. Many good tackle stores sell Mudeyes these days but if you would rather collect some yourself, it’s not hard at all and it’s even quite enjoyable!

Mudeyes can be easily found by wading in the shallows, turning over a few logs and rocks. They will hide in many holes and crevices usually on the underside. They can be hard to see at first as they will be of a similar colour to their habitat and often you wont see them until they start to move so take your time and be patient. Usually the older, gnarlier looking logs will have the most Mudeyes and if you find just the right log, you may get twenty or more off it!

You may come across two types of Mudeye. The more common of these seems to be the Spider Mudeye. The other is affectionately known as the Couta Mudeye. The Couta is my personal favourite as it’s slightly larger with a longer, more pointy rear end. The Trout don’t seem to have any preference for one or the other. Although to some a Mudeye may look like a nasty looking little critter, they certainly don’t bite!


Now you have your bait it’s time to use it! Mudeyes are best fished suspended under a float. There are many floats available that will work but I like to use the small egg shaped ones that can be filled or partially filled with water so as to add weight for a nice long cast. Pass your line down through the centre tube in your float. Generally I would suspend my Mudeye about 40cm to one metre below my float. To do this I use either a float stopper or a small swivel. Then just below the swivel I will add a small piece of cork or neoprene (about 1cm square). Simply pass your hook through it a couple of times and add a half hitch to stop it sliding down the line. This acts basically as your float and stops the weight of the Mudeye pulling line through your float and sinking down in the weed. So basically you want your line to be able to run freely through your float so when a Trout eats it, it won’t feel any pressure until you set the hook.


It pays to fish as light as possible for this style of finesse fishing for Trout in clear water and I wouldn’t use any heavier than 4lb line while Mudeye fishing. I find the Shimano Ocea 4lb Florocarbon leader is perfect for the job. There is no real advantage or disadvantage in using Braid in this instance so either Braid with a leader or straight through Mono or Flouro is fine.

Hooks – depending on the size of the Mudeyes I use either a size 10 or 12 quality chemically sharpened hook.  Now to bait up – the Idea is to keep your Mudeye alive for as long as possible on the hook. To do this it’s best to pass the hook through the small wing casing on top of the Mudeyes back. Swimming Mudeye will attract way more attention than a dead one!


So you’ve found your chosen hot spot and you’re baited up ready to go. It’s imperative that you cast your Mudeye out as gently as possible. It’s more of a slow lob really and more often than not there is no need to cast out too far anyway. Mudeyes are a delicate little creature and you will cast the odd one off here and there so it pays to have at least a dozen or more for a decent session. Just the other day while rigging up we had Trout rising just a meter or so from shore! Yes it got the blood pumping! After you’ve cast out, it’s best to leave your bail on your reel open, so a fish can take the bait and run without feeling any resistance. So now you’ve cast out and you’re waiting for a bite. Keep your eye on your float for any unusual or unnatural movement. If it does move chances are a Trout has eaten your bait and is about to start taking line. Don’t get too excited and strike to early! It’s best to let the fish run for up to 10 seconds or thereabouts. This will ensure he has swallowed the bait down. Just before you strike be sure to wind up any slack line that you may have out, then it’s just a gentle but firm lift of the rod and you’re on! Remember, you’re only using 4lb line not 50!

As is the nature of this style of fishing you will hook some fish deep and this is fine if you plan on keeping one or two for a feed. If you are planning on releasing your fish try striking a bit earlier to try to mouth hook them or simply cut the line as close as possible to the hook and it will rust away and disappear in no time.

Recently I was lucky enough to show off some of this amazing fishing to long standing Shimano ambassador and all around fishing legend Steve Starling along with my partner Hannah when we had a great session Mudeye Fishing at one of our favourite waters in NW Tassie called Talbots lagoon. For directions and advice talk to Hannah and the Crew at Tackleworld and Outdoors in Burnie, Tas.  The fish were rising hard on the Duns that day but they were still all over our Mudeyes! I think the final tally was 9 fish landed, a few more missed and a couple broken off. These beautiful and fat Brown Trout averaged around 3lb and made for a fun and memorable afternoons fishing.

My gear of choice on the day was the awesome new Shimano Stradic FK 2500 paired up with the amazing Anarchy 702 light spin. Line was 5lb Power Pro in Yellow with a 4lb Ocea Flouro Leader. This is my new favourite combo for just about any light tackle situation, either in freshwater or in the Salt! 

There is something about float fishing that really gets me going, whether it’s the anticipation of the bite or seeing that float bobble. I almost forgot how much fun it was! Not to mention effective and the best part is that anyone can do it!

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