Wow good grief I am struggling to get these reports out to you poor guys. I know so many of you used to hang out for these and I am letting you down. I will try and do better.
It used to be that I would be on the water almost every day, then come in, sit down and type up a report. It was easy when I guided as I certainly had my finger on the pulse so to speak. The last five years with this bloody knee injury have certainly slowed that down. However I still have a decent network of individuals who contact me to let me know what is going on out there.
There are plenty of trout in the lake ready to attack all manner of Smelt patterns and hard wear, that doesn’t seem to be the problem at the moment. The issue is the condition of these fish. It seems there are way to many skinny fish being caught. I don’t think this is an issue at the moment as we are only at the end of January and this time of year always has spent fish being caught. These are refereed to as “Kelts”or “slabs” and are the fish which have come out of the rivers after spawning and are trying to recoup some condition. If they can get onto a good food source, IE smelt then yes they will re gain their former condition and then re enter the rivers as second year spawning fish, being slightly bigger than last year. However if they can’t immediately get onto food, then they will weaken further, be unable to hunt and die. They then become Nitrogen for the lake and help in the food chain. Hopefully things will improve within the lake and we will start seeing some decent conditioned trout showing up in the rips. I have seen a few pictures of Browns being caught and they certainly look decent. Time will tell on this.
So its the Browns I want to have a talk about in this report as many Taupo fishermen do not target these wonderful fish, either in the lake or the rivers themselves and that is a crying shame. The Taupo Browns should be a fish all anglers have a crack at.
I used to only fish the rips for these guys. I would suss out a rip during the day light hours, checking out the drop off and general flow. I won’t touch a rip unless it has some flow to it. Then I would come back in the evening with both Floating, intermediate and sinking line, armed with standard Streamer flies such as Smelt patterns and Bobbies to try my luck. I would always stay until Midnight as you just never knew when they would move in. The Waitahanui river mouth was always a favorite of mine from the end of January through to the end of March. On any dark moonless night you could catch me there throwing out a large size 6 Black woolly something with a little blue or purple flashaboo in the tail on a fast sinking line and slowly retrieving it back in. I always fished the current as I also targeted the Rainbows filling themselves up on the cold oxygenated water the Nui has to offer over the hot summer months. I have had some epic battles with big Browns from this piece of water with some of them being almost impossible to beach as their bellies were to big to drag into the shallow water. It is safe to say I have lost more of these than I have landed and that is always heart breaking. However as I started to fish all the Taupo rivers over summer either by myself and or with clients, I came to realize these brutes of the lake could quite easily be caught whilst they were in the cold water of our tributaries. The Tongariro being the best out of these. I then started tying Nymphs to catch them, although to be honest the ones I were already using did the job, I just had to tweak them a little. My Blue Reaper with the Red D Rib has to be one of the best Nymphs for doing just this, from Feb through to the end of March. I use a tapered leader going down to 6 pound Fluro being of about 11 feet all up, a 4.5 ml Tungesten, Big Boys Bomb then a tippet of 10 inches to the Blue Reaper. I would fish this over anything else out there, especially from that magic hour of 6 through till 10 in the morning. If you haven’t had the pleasure of having your indicator go under and lifting into what you think is a solid snag, to have it move off, then seriously team, you haven’t experienced Taupo fishing at its best. Unlike the Lake where the Brown trout fight can be a bit dull and can almost be bought in like an obedient dog on a lead, the River Browns use the flow of the river and their size against you. I have had some battles lasting twenty or thirty minutes with these guys and have had to employ every tactic I know to gain the upper hand, including doing river crossings to follow them. They can be good eating too if you are that way inclined but choose wisely or all those horror stories of soggy tasteless flesh will come back to haunt you. A nice fat silver fresh run Brown trout should have excellent firm orange flesh and will feed a few families. I take extra care when prepping these guys for the smoker. I really brine them down, which helps take out extra moisture from the flesh then a slow smoke over medium heat should finish that job off. I season them quite heavily too as generally the flesh is quite thick and it takes a bit to sink in. Strong flavors like Garlic and rum work really well for the Browns.
So maybe if you have a little time on your hands, you might like to consider having a crack at these guys and tick them off that bucket list. I promise you it will be a very rewarding experience.
I have made up a Brown Trout package on my web site for the next few months, included in this package is one of my indicators. There are many Taupo anglers now who wont use anything else as an indicator, why don’t you purchase one and see why, they are definitely the best out there!
Tight Lines Shane