I spent a really nice afternoon on the Waitahanui Sunday. I started down low and picked up two feisty little Rainbows. I had been fishing to the Jack for about ten minutes in a very deep hole. The naturals I had been using were not doing the job at all. I was happy with the amount of weight I was using to get down quickly and leader length was good. It was fly selection that was the issue. It’s April guys and Glo Bugs are a good option. I tied one on and had this little guy, (Top Picture) hooked up on the first cast. He didn’t hesitate, just moved over and swallowed. If you are keen on some tried and proven Glo Bugs check out my shop.
Anyway about ten casts latter I hooked the Hen. As it took off it spooked a massive Brown of about a meter long, it was one of those “Wow” moments. This little bullet I was attached to, jumped and carried on like there was no tomorrow, it had untold energy right up to the end. It took me a little while to revive this little lady, so with that in mind, i’m going to have a little chat about releasing trout back into the river.
If you have played a trout for some time they will obviously need longer to re Oxygenate there blood. Hold them firmly by the notch where their tail forms. I use my thumb and forefinger to grasp this area and then I support the Trouts body with my left hand keeping my fingers away from its Gills. Many times when a trout is held like this it will relax. Looking for the correct water to release the trout is super important. If the water is too fast then the head will be forced to the side and they wont be able to breath. Running water contains more Oxygen so you want to find a gentle current, (maybe behind a rock) and place the trouts head upstream. If its head is being pulled to the side then the current is too strong. Sometimes you have to wait a wee while. If a fish I am trying to release doesn’t seem to want to move away, then I relax my grip to see if it wakes them up. Quite often this is like a kick start and they are away. If that doesn’t happen and the fish actually looks like it will roll over, then it needs longer being held and maybe better water to revive it in. If you release a trout that hasn’t had time to rest and it rolls over, it’s doomed!!
While im on a roll I should probably mention the actual landing of a trout. The top of a Trouts skull, (where we smack it, to dispatch it) is VERY easily traumatized. When landing a trout near rocks, (Tongariro mostly in Taupo) then be aware that if a trout is bouncing all over the rocks and your purpose is for catch and release, then it will have a less chance of survival. I know it is not always possible to control a Trout and they are slippery little buggers but if you can have it in the back of your mind then the overall chances of survival is increased. I try to take optimum care with my trout when I’m returning them, its part of the enjoyment I get from Catch and Release.
It has been a brilliant year for Black Berries on the Waitahanui. They have been around in good numbers for many months now. The crop that is out there now are full of flavor, fat and sweet. The Hunter Gatherer gene is about to go nuts, I love wild Black Berries.
I didn’t pick up a fish from Pig Pool up to Snag, where I gave up. In fact I didn’t even see a fish in that section. They were probably all around the next bend having a laugh at me. I worked my way back down and picked up a few more small trout about 2.5 pounds. The Waitahanui is super low and clear and with little or no wind for the past few weeks, the river has emptied out a wee bit. I’m not sure if the trout low down were going to run and spawn but there were definitely more fish in that section and they were taking Glowies
So pray for some rain,( I’m even feeling sorry for the farmers now) and hopefully it will make the grass grow and the trout run.