Woot woot, 1st of the year Hope you all had a great night last night.
Part of the reason Alex and I have been out every week exploring new rivers and places, is that if I ever had a client who wanted to experience “back country” water but was not quite up to Rock hopping or deep wading, then I could offer them some sort of adventure without the energy required for this type of trout fishing. I didn’t really think I would be put into this situation myself but then shit happens huh. So last Sunday we dropped into a beautiful little stream some distance from Taupo. I have fished this a few times but due to the distance required traveling, have not gone back for some time. As you can see by the foliage right down to the waters edge it has a constant flow and has not been effected by floods too often. It also has a neat little path through the bush line that takes you out onto most pools and runs. We were really pleased to see very few foot prints in the section we chose to fish and most of those were not on the river banks and were probably hunters or trampers.
The goal for this trip was to bring a trout to the surface on the dry fly. We have been experimenting with our Nymph selection and have not really been bothered with cicada pattens at all. Well that and it has been cold and wet . Sunday was a different story, we were hanging out for a good trout to surface under our dry and sip it in. Honestly there is nothing better than this style of trout fishing. Alex has only just started fishing rivers this year, he had dabbled in the Waitahanui and the Hinemaiaia over the past couple of seasons but had never really had a true back country river experience up until this season. We have fixed that now Even so he hadn’t taken a trout on a dry, in a river.
We didn’t have to walk far before we came across a beautiful piece of water that just screamed “fish me”! Being the selfish bastard I am and the fact I can tie on a dry faster then Alex I got to fish it first. I must have put through ten drifts with my big cicada pattern all to no avail. At which point we spotted a big eel cruising up the shallows of the pool. I had just put up a very long cast into the top of the pool. Alex had his Go Pro Video out getting some excellent underwater coverage of this great New Zealand Icon. I was watching him instead of my cicada. I happened to look back to where my Dry should have been but instead of seeing a big fluffy thing floating back towards me, there was a huge swirl of water! I lifted my rod and was hard into a very good rainbow. All hell broke loose, the trout jumped the eel freaked and my reel screamed, well me and the reel. Wow what a fight, this thing was super energetic and acrobatic to boot. It had me working hard to get it under control. We got in to the net and had a good laugh, first trout on the Dry for the season and we didn’t even see the take :), One good picture and off it went back to its home wondering what the hell just happened.
In the next run that we came across there was a nice looking fish moving from side to side feeding hard. Man I love seeing this, you just know the chances of a hook up are high, that is if you can get that first drift going. Alex has got this down pat now, he fully understands the importance of this concept. Too many anglers stuff up the first cast, the trout becomes aware of your presence and refuses. The angler then thinks the trout isn’t interested, where in fact it was a first botched cast that stuffed it up. I have seen it too many times! So with that little rant out of the way, Alex gauged how much line he would need, got himself into casting position and with a near perfect water load, shot his Royal Wulf up the run. It landed 5 feet to the left and about 6 feet up from where the trout was feeding, this beast of a fish didn’t hesitate, it moved up and over, rose in the water column and scoffed the Wulf down. I don’t know how the hell Alex restrained himself from yanking it out of his mouth, but he hesitated perfectly then lifted his rod tip, perfect set Bro Then SHTF, wow these fish had power in them, it went nuts and spent the first minute on top of the water out of the water and almost in the bushes at one stage. We had side ways pressure going both ways, we had running up the river trying to stop it from going around a small bend, we then had running down stream following it because we had stopped it going up stream, we had “Ooo’s” and”Arrrrs” and “bloody hells” going on and then YES, in the net! All this time I was watching in awe, im not moving that fast at the moment and so just watched from the side line and it was brilliant to see, as I write this I am smiling re thinking it. I can’t remember a better illustration of a dry fly take, it will be hard to beat that one, for Alex.
I was not dealing with the terrain all that well and so decided to have a look at one more pool before we bailed. It was a deep slow pool. We edged our way up the side of it, peering into the depths not believing it could be empty. Then all of a sudden we both saw it at the same time, a good fish, maybe 7 pounds sitting on the bottom like a rock. Gahhh we both had dry flies on and this trout was sitting in 7 feet of water and directly opposite us, four feet away. What the hell I thought, I slowly unhooked my Dry, pulled a foot of main line off the reel and Bow and Arrow cast it just upstream. What happened next was so awesome it made my day. The trout looked up, (yes we actually saw it look up) and then charged to the surface without hesitation. It almost came right out of the water. I don’t know how I set the hook as it was pretty much directly below me like striking from a boat. This fight didn’t end as well as I would have liked, as a minute into it the trout slipped the hook and it came floating back down the river towards me. I was slightly disappointed as it was a very nice fish but the fun had been the hook up and so I took pleasure in that.
We hadn’t walked that far and so headed back to the car full of good memories from a great day out. At some point I will get back in there and do a real mission on this stream as it has huge potential. For now I have the pictures to remind me of the first trout on the dry for the season and the first trout on a dry full stop for Alex.
Tight Lines for the coming year guys and gals, be safe wherever you are.