Right now DOC are sitting back with a big smile on their faces, breathing a massive sigh of relief! What a fantastic end to the winter season we have had, or maybe it has just started
So there is a particular piece of back country water that I have been looking at for about 5 years but because of the time required traveling, I have not been able to get in there. I have done a heap of research into it and all it was going to take was some organization and good weather to get in there. The idea has always been to set up a fly camp so I can take adventurous fit anglers in there for a day or two. The fishing is meant to be unbelievable, with some of the best scenery in NZ. The river boasts big Rainbows and monstrous Browns. Alex and I had planned a trip into this piece of water for about a month. We were going to travel as light as we could, walk as far as we could and fish as hard as our bodies could take, it was man up time. Yeah well that was the plan anyway, the weather had other ideas. labour weekend was a right off, we were going to make a call Thursday night and head off Friday morning but gale force winds and heavy rain meant it was a no go. So what to do? Thursday was sooo horrible that it looked like the only water we were going to get into was the Waitahanui I mean don’t get me wrong I love the Nui but it was a far cry from the serenity of a back country river, with mind blowing monster fish. That and we both wanted to get away from bloody Glo Bugs and split shot!
I picked Alex up at 6.30, he had checked the river levels and noted that the Tauranga Taupo had risen to just under .7 and then dropped very quickly to .57. Thats very fishable and hey there might have been a small push of fresh run trout go through. So with a quick change of plans we headed down to the TT, still a bit disappointed but hey you can’t do anything about the weather. There was only one car in the car park and so we trekked in with the plan to walk the first two bends and then start fishing and try to get up to Rangers pool.
WOW this river has been turned over! I have seen the TT after floods but I have never seen anything like this, man it got stomped on. The great thing is, it has cleaned out the pools. Yes there are a few snaggs still lurking but the vast majority have been cleaned out and are deep and yummy looking. Both Alex and I pulled one each before the rock wall but we en-counted three anglers in quick succession and so gave them two full bends and moved up. This is where we got stuck into them. I was blown away by both the numbers and the condition of them. I was throwing my Kilwell 5# Innovation and some of the fights I had this day were outstanding. The average was probably just under 4 pounds and I haven’t encountered this for YEARS We fished slowly up to Cliff where we stopped and had a bite to eat. It was about 12.30 at this stage and all of a sudden anglers came out of the tree line like ants from a nest. I have never seen anything like it, they were up stream and down stream and all of them looked angry and pissed off that we were there.
We hadn’t fished the cliff pool yet but an older angler came along and with puppy dog eyes looked sick that someone was in his favorite spot and one that he could fish, so we gave it up to him and decided to walk the dog back down to the car. This technique is very productive on the TT and it breaks up the massive 4Km walk back to the car. It’s simple, cast out, mend up and walk the drift down 10 or so feet, then do it all over again. You cover the water and as I say the walk back isn’t as torturous. We managed to pick up another 7 or 8 good trout and before we knew it the power lines were over head and it was a short walk to the car. It was one of my best days on the Tauranga Taupo that I have had since moving to Taupo 8 years ago. The trout were in amazing condition and there were plenty of them. Angling pressure on this river has been intense, at times there have been up to 17 cars in the car park and that really is too much for this river.
So the next trip that was organized had to be a back country piece of water, we both wanted to get away from Taupo and Glo Bugs! I chose a small stream that has very limited numbers of trout but when you do get onto them they are nothing short of brilliant. It’s small snaggy and tight, which means you will never see another angler there. It is mostly sight fishing as well. Unless you have experienced this form of fly fishing, you are really missing out on some awesome fun. This river got smashed two years ago by one of the most vicious periods of rain we have had in the district, it decimated the trout population and I hadn’t been back in there since. The water looked great, the pools were deep and clean, the day was bright, warm and for the first time in months there was very little breeze. The only thing we needed was trout, hmmmm! it’s a huge river system and we were fishing a beat that had not seen anglers but the trout were not around in any numbers at all. We snuck up on a feeding brown at one stage, sat down and watched him while eating morning tea. We then decided what was in our tackle box that he may be feeding on and rigged up. I used a new hair and copper I am tying and for the first time in ages put on a Quasimodo, in #16. This river demands first casts to be perfect and I fluked that We watched as this lovely fish glided over, rose up in the water column and suck in the hair and copper, I tightened the line and all hell broke loose. Down stream was deep and so Alex had to net it fast, he plunged into the water like an iron man, as I struggled to bring the Brown to the surface for the net. He missed the first chance and it swam down stream 10 feet and around a clump of cutty grass. I applied as much pressure to it as I have ever done to a trout and brought it back up for the second attempt, right at Alex’s feet. The bastard missed that one too and it powered back down stream . Once more I man handled it back to where Alex was for the third attempt. This fish was in amazing condition and really was quite grumpy with life. It was verbally confirmed to Alex, that it was indeed a long way to walk back to Taupo, if we missed this next netting opportunity, so with that in mind I glided it up and into the waiting net.. It went just over 4 pounds but was one of the most silver browns I have ever landed and was just a little fat rugby ball of energy. Alex who had been given the camera for safe keeping switched it on for a photo but for some reason it wouldn’t work new batteries and all. He later joked that with all the excitement he had let off a small personal EMP and buggered it he’s not allowed to go near electronics while on the water, ever again. We ended up with four hooked and landed, for the day.
On Saturday night I got a late TXT asking if I wanted to go for a small walk up the Waitahanui, ummm yeah! We got there very early and went straight to Reids. Alex went in first and fished it deep and with weight, unfortunately he hooked one of the top rocks just past the lip and busted off. Me up! Second cast and the indicator got viciously yanked under, I lifted the rod and for the next five minutes was subjected to one of the best fights I have EVER had. Within seconds this fish had gone to the back of the pool and was racing down stream past the flax bushes on the true left, I had told Alex I needed the net on this one and that he had to get it before the drop off, gahhhh he missed, (no surprises there) actually this time it wasn’t his fault as I really wasn’t in control and the 5# was very under powered for this fish. I tried to hold it but that wasn’t going to work, so grabbed Alex and did the crossing to the true left. Its do-able but there is a deep, snaggy piece of water to go into, if you stuff it up! Adrenaline pumping stuff. I really applied the pressure and slowed it down so Alex could get below it. We had to cross back, to the true right before I lifted its head and Alex who had a face set in stone, netted it. It was an amazing trout in great condition and splashed us as it tore off back into the river. I have never been so pumped by a fight in all my time, it was fast, furious and heaps of fun. We had a great morning and managed to get ten or so good fish to the bank, over a five hour period, we took our time through the water and had a blast.
So really guys, there are lots of options at the moment. The fish are in great condition and there are plenty of them.