As we close out the 2017 winter season and head into the summer months what can you look forward too.
When I first started fly fishing in Taupo 40 odd years ago, the winter season was pretty much over and done with by September. I don’t know if that was just the mentality of the fishermen back then and really the fishing was still potentially good, or if in fact the seasons have changed that dramatically. Back then my fishing days were dictated by my Dad and so I couldn’t explore the rivers past September when he gave up. It wasn’t until I moved to Taupo 13 years ago that I really started to explore the rivers outside of the peak runs. Now some of the best fishing is to be had in September and October. A friend and I rafted down the upper Tongariro in January of this year and the schools of fresh run silver Rainbows up there, was mind blowing.
Smelting around the lake will start to heat up from now on. Dirty Duck Creek, just up from the Waitahanui river mouth has some of the first smelting to be had on Lake Taupo. Putting on a pair of Polaroid sun glasses, on a sunny day and walking the shallows with a floating line, 9 foot trace and a smelt pattern can honestly be some of the best exciting fishing you can have. This is shorts and sand-shoe stuff and can be incredibly satisfying. Using the “300 meter rule” from any water entering Lake Taupo you can also use spinning gear for these feeding trout. Use small silver Toby’s on lite spinning gear and introduce your kids to trout fishing that way. It keeps them occupied and the hits are savage. It will bring a smile to their faces and there are plenty of proud parent moments to be had.
River mouth fishing will heat up as the days become warmer too. The trout congregate around the cold river mouth of the Waitahanui and Hinemaiaia as there is much more oxygen to be found in cold water. The smelt make good use of this too and so the trout move in because of the extra food source. You have to watch using a floating line in the Waitahanui if you are in the current as traditionally it is a sinking line rip. If you are next to somebody using a sinking line and they hook a fish, it will come to the surface, wrap around your floating line and potentially bust off. I have heard many a grumpy outcome from this. Intermediate lines in the current seem to be ok but if you are using a floating line in the Nui Rip, go to the side and fish the slacker water. A faster retrieve or a jerky action can have devastating results when the trout are in feeding on smelt. The Hinemaiaia seems to fish well with a floating line due to the shallow nature of the rip. I have found that Green really works in the Hine but on a sunny day try a yellow bodied fly. Green Green Green for the Nui.
The Brown trout will start to show up in the rips and then in the rivers from November on wards with their peak being in February. If you haven’t targeted these leviathans of Taupo then you haven’t really done your homework. The thrill of that huge weight coming on the end of your Rod, the steady pull and then the thrill of seeing a big silver brown speckled monster is heart pumping stuff. For those who like to take the odd fish home, there is nothing wrong wit the flesh of Brown Trout. Make sure they are fat and fresh, use plenty of salt to cure them and smoke them slowly, the outcome is very tasty and one of these fish can feed a few friends. Night time is the best for Brown Trout as they tend to feed at this time. Dark flies work best for the Browns at night, they will take Lumo’s but Dark is by far the best. Night time fishing is a skill in itself and if you do decide to get into it make sure you scope out the rip in daylight hours before you fish it at night. This is a must for safety.
Once the Brown trout enter the rivers they are a little harder to get to take but it can be done. I have found first thing in the morning from first light through till 10.00am is the best. My Blue Comet has taken quite a few decent Browns from all the Taupo Rivers. This is a great summer Nymph and accounts for many of my trout. I will put this on special from my web site for the next month, so stock up on these now. It is tied on a Kamasan B110 in size 12, so when you do hook up, you have the confidence the hook will not bend or break.
The Dry Fly action will start to heat up too as summer makes itself felt. All the Taupo rivers have Rainbow trout in them over summer and on a hot day they can not resist slurping down a big dry fly. Don’t be shy about presentation as smacking it down on the water a foot in front of a feeding trout will not spook it but more often than not, get its attention and honestly there is nothing better than watching a trout move up through the water column to suck in your Dry Fly. If you haven’t given this form of fly fishing a go, it is a must, like the trout, you will get hooked.
So don’t put your gear away for the season, just modify your technique for the upcoming season ahead and you will have many happy hours in the sun doing what you love… Catching Taupo Trout.
Tight Lines Shane