We have had great weather conditions over the past week and I managed to take advantage of it, for a couple of days. I didn’t want to fish the Taupo Tribs and so traveled further afar. To be honest I was a little disappointed overall, with the numbers of trout in the rivers I explored. Both of them, two years ago, had great numbers of fish throughout. This year it is a different story! My God the tracks in the sand, it was like a herd of humans had gone up the river bed. I fumed and grizzled and thought “you bastards”, how dare you! The reality however, is that we all have the right to fish in New Zealand and no one owns a river! I suspect that when angling pressure is high, the trout either retreat back down stream, or the treatment they receive while being caught kills them! You can’t do much about the first one, but you sure as hell can, for the second.
If you ARE going to take a trout from a River source, Not stocked by DOC, then think very carefully about what trout you take. I understand the whole thrill of taking home your catch and eating it, but taking the biggest trout you can will damage the breading stock for years to come or reduce it dramatically. Fantastic fisheries like the Whakapapa are being ruined by this attitude and it is a bloody shame.
I grew up spin fishing, Occasionally I’ll walk the Taupo shore line in summer, with a smelt fly and split shot. It has its place and rivers that are stocked, are a brilliant way to introduce kids to trout fishing, through spinning. Trout love movement and some of the spinners available are “killers”. The Whakapapa should be a NO spinning Zone and it needs to be patrolled!!! If you are a “spinner” then NEVER use three barbed hooks, these cause terrible damage to the smaller fish! Last year I came across a Kiwi guy spinning on this river. He had three trout over five pound at his feet. This was his second day fishing and he was “”stocking up”” for a twenty first!!I felt sad for the fishery that day, all my trout released were looked upon with a seance of doom!
When you land your trout, treat it with care and take your pictures ASAP keeping the fish in a net, in the water. WET your hands before touching it. Trout have a slimy body for protecting against parasites, dry hads remove this protective layer and exspose the trout to disease. If it has been a hard fight and your trout is buggered, revive it carefully. Hold it firmly by the tail and support the head so it faces up stream in clean water. Don’t put the fish into strong current or its head will turn and it won’t revive. Hold it until “It Wants To Go”, not when YOU think its ready. If you release to early it will turn on its back and drown!! I use a net at all times back country. It is a good skill to learn, (netting your own trout), and is way more gentler than dragging them up on stones!
Paul and I fished the Whakapapa yesterday and as I said before I was dissapointed with the numbers of trout in here. We did a HUGE section of river and got into some fairly remote water. No foot steps in the sand and water to blow your mind. The river was in perfect condition too. We picked up four trout for the day. If it wasn’t for the fact they were fabulous fish it would have been a shocker of a day. It is going to be a hard summer on this river.
If you are planning a trip to Taupo and the rod and waders are in the boot, you have a few options up your sleeve.
All the rips are going to fire soon. By all accounts there are plenty of smelt in the lake and so the trout will be chassing them around. Walk the Lake edge on a sunny summer day with a good pair of poloroids, a five or six weight rod with floating line and a silicon smelt. heaps of fun and excitment when you spot trout munching out on smelt close to the shore!
The Tongariro would be the pick of the bunch for a river fish, with plenty of kelts coming back downstream. Change of light is the prime time to be on here. There are some good trout being taken on dark and after on the Tongariro.
Give the TT a look as well. This has not recieved any pressure for quite some time now. The water level is low so some stealth is required, but spotting is fun on the TT under these conditions and like the Tonagriro, there are a few older trout coming back down, to target.
Well guys thats it until after Christmas. I am back online after the 27th.
Have a very safe Christmas