Gaahhh the 7th and this is my first report for the season, sorry about that. I took a couple of weeks off with the family to re charge the system. Here we go!
So I gather we had a brilliant run of trout go into most rivers. I came back to many reports of great fishing, with the vast majority of the trout being in fabulous condition. That is such great news, go Taupo fishery!! One of my regular clients I smoke trout for, has bought in some great looking Trout over the past few days. we are due some more rain in the coming week, so I hope it feeds us silver bullets into the systems. The lake has more water in it and that means the rivers wont empty so fast. Last year in November I had my best week for the year, on the Taupo rivers, as a late run came through all of them. Don’t put away your gear yet folks.
However for this report I will focus on a back country piece of water I had been excited about fishing, from the end of last season.
I put a huge amount of work in finding my fishing water. I have spent 1000,s of hours, treaking, driving, climbing and sometimes swimming to find water that might be out of the way and full of hungry Trout. This quest for beautiful water and solace is the main reason I enjoy fishing the back Country so much. Hunting out decent water and coming away at the end of a brilliant day with pictures of good trout, is the ultimate success for me. It is the main reason I do not mention River Names in my reports for back country water. In short if I do that, it will inevitably hurt the fishery. Upsetting the spawning stock in a river, by over fishing is a fast spiral downhill.
About four years ago somebody wrote an article on a particular river and gave access points, flies to use and secrets in general. The pressure this river received from that and the follow on fisherman coming back time and time again. had a massive impact. I have fished this river every year for the past 7 years and the lack of trout, with increase in anglers can be pin pointed to that article. I am devastated for this river. A few of you out there will recognize the pictures in my below story, I hope you enjoy it and agree with what I have said.
I am always asked whether I still enjoy fishing for myself, the answer is, hell yes! I couldn’t make up my mind what river to fish for the start of the season. it was finally made up due to the weather. I had a feeling some of the rivers might still be a bit high from the rain you had in NZ, (while I was in sunny Australia). The last thing I wanted to do was drive hours to a spot and be turned back because it was still running high. So with that in mind I chose a different part of the country and headed there. To say I was excited was an understatement! I found a mate to go with on the river, although most of them had been out on opening day and used up their free pass card. Arron is good fun, (I always enjoy watching him fall in) and his different style of fishing was going to cover our techniques, (He uses more weight). Apart from the great company he supplied, this river was a tough one and it is always good to have a mate with you. I have had four bad falls in my 38 years of trout fishing and two of them have been on this river. Breaking a bone is one thing, but smashing your head into a rock and drowning is another. I tied some Nymphs that I thought would work in the deep pools and runs this river was renowned for, organized my truck, cleaned my fly line and generally got prepped up. I was picking Arron up early and needed a good sleep. This I got until 4.30 . I woke up bang on this time and my brain woke up 20 seconds later, like a big massive light bulb. I got up quietly, like a stealth fishing Ninja and dressed in the lounge. Who needed the alarm clock! Arron TXT’ me twenty minutes later saying he couldn’t sleep and was I awake 10 minutes later I was out the door tying my shoe laces. We would rather wait in the dark by the sound of running water, in anticipation of the morning rather than drinking coffee, and watching the clock. Yeah I was a little excited.
We were the first at the remote car park we had for access. This part of the river always gets early attention and I really didn’t want to be following anyone up or down a beat. It puts pressure on the other anglers in front of you and you will probably get a frosty response if you try and bunny hop them. However we didn’t need to worry about other anglers as it was ummm ehh early! Being first to the water on Back Country rivers is not always the best idea. Early in the season when it is still a wee bit chilly, the fish wont emerge from their night time positions until things have warmed up in the day.
We had a good look in the first pool we were standing by. I was a little disappointed with not seeing too many trout from my spying position. In past seasons I have seen some big fish in here, the vantage point you have gives you a perfect view into the deep long run. Hmm I thought maybe a bit early in the morning. So with that in mind we made our way slowly and surely down stream.
By the time we reached the first pool there was enough light to see my small indicator at any range and so I started in the middle and worked my way to the top. I changed weight and Nymphs twice with no success. it’s a great piece of water and in the past I have taken some lovely hens from it. Arron had a good flick through too. He was using different Nymphs than I was and fishing deeper, faster. We had a small discussion about this barbaric bastard he is. However as I say we were definitely going to cover our basses with fishing styles. He too didn’t hook up, (well maybe the bottom a few times), so we moved on.
At one stage this very anemic Blue Duck flew past me and landed on a rock. Whats up with that? They are meant to be much darker than that. It got too near another couple and got the right royal sending off, splashed my bloody water it did! So that pool was spoilt as far as stealth of approach went but at the same time I hadn’t seen a fish yet, not even a spooky one. I was clinging onto the too early thing by this stage.
The Sun was up and the day was hot. its going to be a scorcher this year when it does shine, so pop some sunblock in your vest ASAP. Thats my UV protection speech out of the way! As it warmed up some big insects started to emerge and flutter about. This is what brings the trout around for the summer months, warmth and insects hitting the water, I hope it carries on. By this stage I don’t think we had seen a trout, we were about 3 km downstream and the old saying, “”just one more bend” had been in play for two bends. Honestly I had to see a trout! The last bend we came to had nice water to fish but the straight down from it, to the next fishable piece was long, bouldery and torturous. The thought of walking all that way for an empty pool, was too much for my knee to think about, this is where we stopped.
As I say the water in this section is mind blowing and all the water screamed”trout”, probably should have told the trout that though as with all the others, this was empty. It was 1.30 by this stage and so we slowly walked, talked and fished our way back upstream. Arron had gone for three swims by this stage and I am still smiling at the look his face made when ice water went down his front and he stood up . He was still using way too much weight and wouldn’t listen to a professional which made it all so bad when he hooked the only trout of the day. “Oh crap” I silently thought, i’m going to hear about this for the next millennium. He wouldn’t let me net it for him cause “”it was his fish”, so there was some satisfaction when he lost it at the bank I did feel sorry for him as the Jack was a good fish and really had some pull. He then promptly fell in for the fourth time that day to add insult to injury.
It was about 3.30 when we reached our exit on the river. We had seen a few trout on the way up, id like to think my suspicions about being too early on the river were correct, although numbers were still well down on last year. As we were catching our breath from a massive walk, out from the bush cam an angler. This dude can fish, hes above average and has fished this river for a while. We both concurred numbers were down dramatically. Why this is, I don’t really have an answer apart from the obvious over fishing? Water quality is good and insect life under rocks is average, I don’t think its a food or water quality issue. It is a big river system and the bulk of the trout may be in one section, without a drift dive it’s just a guess. However I am going to keep my eye on this river over the season and report back on it near the end.
I was totally ruined by the time I limped out of the car. I was met with a cold drink, over excited children and a plate of food. What a woman! I was disappointed with the fish numbers but more for the river than for me. The great scenery and full anticipation of a good trout made up for the lack of trout, so all was good. However next trip I would at least like my indicator to go down once.