And there goes another month.
I hope some of you got to Taupo for the school holidays. The first week produced some really good fishing even if the rivers were low and clear.
I managed to get out for a few hours on Monday and had a blast. When we had the Waitahanui Lodge a very keen angler by the name of Bolt, (no not the dog) used to come and stay with notorious regularity. This is the same person who supplies me with the fish Priest’s and the carriers. We have stayed in touch over the years and when he does get down here I take him out for a friendly fish. This time he had struggled a little bit as he came down with some friends and was trying to get them onto trout in the Waitahanui and Hinemaiaia. He now has a complete understanding of what a guide can go through with beginners So on Monday morning I picked him up and we shot over to the Hinemaiaia for a quick look. 11 trout later we were heading home with our limit of Fat Hens for the smoke house. I hope your lady friends appreciated the hard work you went to Balt, you sly dog you.
As much as I love the Taupo fishery, for me there is nothing better than getting away from the crowds and to have a whole river system to yourself. Just me and nature, honestly if there was anything to keep me young this would be it. So with that in mind I set about trying to find back country water open in winter. If you look hard enough you can find it. I had already set my sights on a particular river that I knew was open and it might even of had a fresh run go through from a main trib, associated with it. So I was up early on Tuesday morning and driving before the Sun came up. I watched as the temperature gauge in the car plummeted to -5, gaaahhhhh this was going to be cold. Heavy fog meant I wasn’t going to see the Sun for some time too. I was dressed for it though and so wasn’t too concerned. Once I was on the river bank looking at the first pool of the day I really started to relax. I had the place all to myself and the tranquility really set in. The only concern I had was whether my knee was going to stand up to a good walk. I had taken it easy for two weeks leading up to this and dosed myself up on all my meds
The first pool was empty, I didn’t hook anything so it was empty ok .However as I approached the second pool I had a quick glimpse of a trout moving sideways into deeper water. It didn’t spook, it just glided over and I lost sight of it. I had a #10 Tungsten bead head Hair and Copper for my dropper and a small Glo Bug as my point fly. My leader was 10 foot with the last 4 being 6 pound Fluro. This is a great leader, it turns over nicely and is super stealthy. I put through four really good drifts without a touch and so changed fly. I went to my winged Reaper as the point fly. First drift with this rig and half way down the indicator made a small twitch but not enough to go under, then just as I was about to pull up, it sank. I lifted the rod and got that wonderful sensation of head shaking and weight. After 37 years of doing this I still get the same massive buzz I did with my first trout. My little 5# was bent over and the trout on the other end was making some really strong runs. I walked him downstream reeling in line as I went. I noticed that he had taken the dropper! This was a spawning Jack of about 3.5 pounds. He had his picture taken and then sent back on his way.
I did the next three pools without touching a fish. I changed rigs in each pool, taking my time. I used extra weight at the end just to make sure I was down.
I had to do a crossing that was a little on the deep side. I had fished the tail of it and so was trailing line as I crossed, (I didn’t reel in). I was going to target the deep slow moving run coming into the pool and so while still crossing I loaded up off the water and placed my Nymphs into the head of the run. As I did this, the line Butt wrapped the rod and I had to look down to release it. When I looked back up my indicator was no where to be seen. I struck! The trout that was attached to my Dropper, (once again), was about 20 feet downstream and going like a bat out of hell when it broke the surface. OMG it was enormous, well for this river it was. At the quick glance I got it should have gone 6 or 7 pounds. As it hit the water the Nymph pulled and I was left with that empty feeling you get when a good fish is lost.
My next three fish were all silver little bullets of about 2 pounds that tore it up! If you haven’t caught one of these before on a light weight rod, you should put it on your tick list, its a lot of fun.
Because I have fished this system so many times and then come home and marked it out on Google Earth I knew how far I had walked. My knee was starting to let me know too. “Bugger it” I thought I can be a whimp for the rest of the week, I wanted to get up high this time and see what type of water lay in front of me. The pools and runs that I came across made me shiver with anticipation. They were deep and had structure on the bottom for trout to hide behind. I dropped a beauty of a Brown at one stage that again would have hit the 6 pound mark. It was in fast water too. I had given up on anything else but Hair and Coppers, this is what they wanted and so that’s what they got. You can now buy the unweighted variety on my shop, I should have had this up for sale ages ago, sorry.
So after 6 Km I was sore and tired. I chose a formation on the hills to get a bearing from, for Google Earth once I got home. I picked up a sturdy piece of wood to act as a walking stick, retied my boots had something to eat and drink, then put my head down and walked out. It took two hours of serious graft to get out and it was such a wonderful feeling to plonk my butt down in my truck. I am pretty wasted today but the memories are still fresh in my mind and I am already planning another trip in a few weeks. For me there is no better place than a river full of trout and one that I have all to myself.