I fished the Tongariro early last week. I needed a fresh trout for smoking and the Tongariro was my best bet at this time of the year. Angling pressure is pretty much non existent on this river at the moment and so I was looking forward to having some of those big pools to myself. I was armed with my 5# a 4.5 mm Tungsten Reaper and the #12 unweighted Raptor. I had found a great piece of water early in the winter season low down in the river and thought there might be a Brownie sitting in there, well I was hoping anyway. I snuck in nice and quietly lengthened my line out and shot it up 50 feet. It had only just started to come back down toward me when the indicator was viciously yanked under. I wasn’t really ready for this and almost faltered on the strike. I think it managed to foul hook itself as it spent most of the time trying to go upstream, this is typical of a trout foul hooked. My poor old 5# was bent to the cork handle and it was only a matter of time before the 6 pound Fluro decided it had enough of the rough stuff and parted. Damn that was exciting stuff I thought. I reeled in tied up and sent out another cast. Half way back down the drift and the indicator twitched then stopped and went under. This time I was more than ready for it and set the hook with a solid strike. The fresh 4 pound Hen (full of eggs) fought like a demon. I am always going on about the power of the back country trout, well this fish had these beaten well and truly, it was pure energy. It received the last rites and will adorn the Christmas table on Wednesday, Job done, second cast!
Many anglers give up on the Taupo Rivers at this time of year and it is a bit of a shame. There is still some great fishing to be had especially on the Tongariro.
So the plan for the weeks mission was to go deep into one of the rivers Alex and I found late last year. Its a very big walk in and when we did it last year we didn’t give ourselves enough time to do it justice. We should really camp at the confluence of the rivers that make up the section we wanted to fish. However the thought of tramping down the terrain with a large back pack on, makes my knee ache. The alternative was to get in super early, make our way down nice and quickly, then fish from the confluence for the day. So I was up at 2.45 AM and we were on the road by 3.30. The weather was meant to be “Mint” and it turned out to be this way. The Cicadas were chirping and the insects hatching. Have a look at some of the dried skeletons from the ?, (entomology isn’t my strong point).
The water is deep in this section of the river and there is plenty of bottom structure for the trout to hide behind. The plan was to fish down as far as we thought we could go for one day and then fish quickly back up. It was about 8.00 AM when we started fishing and this is still early for these fish. The chances were good that we would pick up more trout on the way back up, once they had warmed up to the day. All the water held trout with the average size being just under four pounds. Alex dropped a great fish of about 6.5 pounds at one stage that would have been the fish of the day. Although there was plenty of water to fish, there were some big straights of nasty terrain that we had to negotiate through. It was hard going. We knew from the lack of foot prints on the banks that no one had been down here. Alex has a handy navigation system that tells us how far we have walked and so when he blurted out 13.8 KM I almost fainted. My knee said “Oh Crap” and so we started the walk back up. we were really surprised at the number of trout we hooked up on walking back. In fact some of the earlier pools that had strangely drawn a blank now had good trout happy to scoff down our Nymphs. I was using the 3.8 mm Tungsten Raptor as a dropper and this accounted for most of my fish. It was a massive walk and we were pretty happy when we got back to the confluence.
Thinking that was it for the fishing and knowing we were going to walk through some bush to cut down on rock hopping we broke our rods down. However about 40 minutes into our walk we came across a great little piece of water with a nice trout sitting in the current obviously feeding and looking up. Alex being the die hard he is, rigged up with a dry fly and sent a few up. Sometime the secret to getting these fish to notice you is to “slap” it down on the water, not drift it down to where they are stationed. this tactic worked and the take was classic with a slow rise up to the surface and sucking it in with a big open mouth. The fight was pretty epic with a furious sprint downstream past us. We were more than up to the challenge however and we managed to land it 20 meters downstream. I had all this on Video. I will put that together and place it on Face book this afternoon. Check out Taupo fishing on face book. Share the Vid and go into the weekly draw to win $20.00 worth of flies from my shop.
By the time we reached the car it was 6.00 PM and I was shattered. We had a thermos of coffee waiting for us and so downed some very strong black gold and then made the drive home. I was in bed within the hour dreaming of screaming reels, jumping trout and whoops of delight. I haven’t been able to move since
Have a great Christmas day. I hope Santa brings you lots of fishing gear. Be safe if you travel and thank you for your support this year.