Over the weekend I shot down to Taupo to have yet another crack at the Trout population. Unfortunately the rain forecast earlier in the week never came to much, the rivers remained relatively low and clear. I figured it was a good opportunity to iron out a few things and stretch the arms in the lead up to October 1. With this in mind I planned to fish a few rivers to keep things interesting.
After consulting the Old Man, Taupo fishing reports and a mate it was obvious the Hinemaiaia was fishing well. The car was loaded up on Friday night and we sat down to watch the rugby with a few beers. Before the crack of dawn a knock on the door signalled the start of the day, so much for a sleep in! Dad and I scoffed down some breakfast and hit the road to the Hine. It pays to get in there early and we were rewarded with an empty car park.
We dropped into the water where there have been numbers of trout in shallow before the masses drive them out to deeper holes and riffles. Sure enough they were there but casting to them is near on impossible so we pushed up river to a good looking run that also holds well. Shortly after and following hot on Dads heels I had my first victim. Well it thought differently anyhow and spat the dummy mid flight, a spirited little Bow that had lost a bit of condition since entering the river. Oh well, not to worry, there’ll be more. Bam, on again. This time the hook up lastest all of 2 seconds so I never really got to gauge it’s size.
Finally after another hit I got one to stick. The trout took full advantage of the strong current and promptly took off in it. Once behind a rock and sitting comfortably in the back eddy I lay the rod over and pulled it into my waiting net. Out came the camera for a photo shoot when I noticed a massive wound that couldn’t be photoshopped. The pic below is a Trout caught two weeks prior in the same spot, same size but far more photo worthy. It was so cold that morning my reel froze solid!
We worked in tandem up to the cliff pool picking up a few fish along the way. This river currently has a lot of active spawning redds and care should be taken not to disturb. Especially with all the current debate raging on the state of the Taupo fishery, but that’s a whole different topic. Sure, I’ve found it a little tougher in the last couple of years but that’s fishing for you. Sometimes you strike it when it’s red hot, at other times you wonder why you bother. BUT, it will never take away from the fact that a day on the water is just plain good fun.
We had also decided the Waitahanui could be worth looking at so made the trip back over the hill. The agreement was to look at Peehi Manini Rd as there had been a good westerly blowing into the mouth over the last few days. It was only a quick look in and never saw a single Trout despite our best efforts. Maybe they were further up already. Golf was next up for the Old fullas daily activities so we parted ways at the house, I went onto pick up some more 6lb fluorocarbon, look at flytying gear (opps I meant buy) and carry on fishing.
My afternoon was going to be full as there were a few spots to hit. The Tongariro had a recreational release so I curiously peered over the road bridge to see if the infamous bridge pool was hotting up with the increase in volume. It was now dropping and had a good colour with pumice and debris flowing quickly downstream, nothing happening here. I gave the surrounding area a few of my flies and threw the towel in. I bet it was damn good 1st thing Sunday morning once the fish had made their way up.
Next up was a river that a fishing buddy had sworn me to secrecy over, so it won’t be named. It is however between the last two rivers mentioned and not really super secret. He’d just done well on it 1st thing Friday morning. When I got to it there had been a few anglers hammering it so the fish were very spooky. The bush and snags were good for practice though and not a single fly went awol in my time there.
With the sun getting lower in the sky I high tailed it back to the Waitahanui rip with hopes of a freshie for the smoker. I had my doubts about the westerly still blowing yet there were 3 guys out already. I got in line and proceeded to get slapped about by the waves. The sunsets are always nice there and you’re often distracted by a yank on the line, this time nothing came out and one by one we all went home. The cop at the booze stop told me some guys passed through earlier with a boat that had done well. Harling has started to produce mixed bags and is a good option for some bigger specimens in the coming months.
The following morning I did the Hinemaiaia solo. Dad had recently opened up his finger quite badly so sat this one out. After a casual wake up and change of boot laces I made it to the same beat from earlier. I worked through each section and leapfrogged other anglers on the way up finally spotting a good looking fish in the shallows. It was happy to watch a few changes of fly drift by until it snapped out and fell for the old globug routine. See ya, I watched its powerful tail flick down the rapids as I ran back down around the submerged tree I had just passed. Thankfully one of the other anglers was around to net it and did a good job pulling it out. On his scales it just hit 5.5lbs and was in full spawning stripes, it’s still out there if anyone wants it. Thanks to the guy from Pukawa Bay for your help, sorry I never got your name!
My last port of call was the Ngongotaha on the way home. As I got there the skies opened and I got pissed on solidly for an hour. I hadn’t fished the section just above the town bridge so went for a look. I could only make out one good fish sitting in a tricky spot but slid down the slippery bank as I lined up a bow and arrow cast, nearly putting the fly in my finger instead. It soon had me figured out and cruised off to find a log to hide under. Eventually I found form and struck into a flighty little Rainbow that came to the bank in short order. One more fish from under the noses of the local boys on the way back down had them laughing when I put it back, not quite meal worthy.
All up it was a good trip with loads of pre season conditioning thrown in. Bring on October 1, I will be match fit. Alex and I are going to have a few days fishing so should have a report for you all. Stay tuned, the whole team will be out and about so expect a busy wee blog in the next while. Don’t forget to subscribe to the blog and tell your friends to get in the draw to win some spanky new XRT waders.
Good luck for the new season
I’m writing this one on behalf of the whole crew. We’ve just come back from a weekend in Turangi… the fishing was tough, but we had a great time.
I flew to Wellington last Wednesday afternoon and Jack picked me up from the airport. I’d never fished the North Island before, I was looking forward to finding out what it was like.
It was straight from the airport to Riverworks HQ to catch up with the guys, then we headed back into Wellington to stock up on a few bits and pieces for the trip. That evening Jack took me to Burger Fuel for a feed followed by gelato and beer from a cool little bar that I can’t remember the name of. I’ll definitely go back to all of these places the next time I’m in the neighbourhood – It was all good stuff.
Thursday morning the alarm went off at 5:30. Not ideal, but we had places to be. We had arranged to take a detour through Dannevirke on the way to Turangi and catch up with the famous Dundee family for a couple of hours. Incredibly, we managed to find the Dundees without getting lost. How we did that I’m still not quite sure..
The Dundees are great people. Their Family consists of Grant, Michelle, and their two sons Daniel and Sean. They have a farm up that way and spend a fair bit of time fishing the local river, with reasonable success.
Getting set up with the Dundees.
It was pretty windy that day which made casting tough, and the river had a touch of colour in it. However Jack hooked and landed a wee rainbow pretty quickly on a small nymph.
Jack and the Dundee boys
Dan Dundee is just learning to fly fish after cutting his teeth with the spinning rod. He is as keen as all young guys are when they are learning to fly fish and it’s great to see. We were all doing our thing when Dan let out an excited yell. I looked across to see him with a bent rod and a nice rainbow leaping out of the water attached to his line.
We all made for his direction and he pretty quickly had the fish on land. His first ever on the fly rod.
Dan Dundee lands his first fish on the fly!
Dan Dundee with Jack and his younger brother Sean
That was all the fishing action for the day. The wind came up stronger and we had to push on through to Turangi.
It was a pleasure to meet these guys and spend some time with them on the river. It was a priveledge that we were able to be there when dan caught his first one on the fly.He’ll never forget that moment and neither will we. Good stuff Dan!
We made it through to Turangi and got some accomodation sorted out before ducking off for my first taste of fishing the Big T.
The reports were reasonably good, there were meant to be a few fish in the river.
We made our way to the river and away we went. We walked downstream past several other anglers to a section of water which didn’t have anyone else fishing it. I rigged up a nymph with a great big indicator and a couple of split shot.
It wasn’t too long and Jack hooked up.
Jack caught one more and lost a few others. I only managed the one hook up, but dropped it pretty quickly. Still, it was good to feel a fish on the end of my line!
End of day one.
That night we met up with Tone from Taupo at the pub for a couple of beers. I had some streamers to give him to try out. Unfortunately I managed to set the hook from one of them right into my finger up to the bend… it wasn’t coming out easily either. It made a really sick crunching noise when I finally managed to pull it free. Let’s just say it wasn’t very nice and I don’t want to do it again!
Fish and chips was the food of choice for the evening. It was more or less inhaled at the cabin and we were off to sleep soon afterwards.
Breakfast the next morning wasn’t quite what the dietitians recommend.
The next day was tough going. We fished the whole day for little reward. We fished four different rivers, I hooked and lost one, we watched another angler catch a fish from a stream, and Jack caught a small one on the Tongariro which he refused to let me photograph!
It turns out this guy is also from Christchurch. He was in Turangi for a work social function… he made an early start with a couple of others. (Sorry mate – I didn’t catch your name!)
The general consensus from those we spoke with was that the fishing had gone cold again… There were a few disappointed people on the river that day.
That afternoon some more troops arived in the form of Rob, Alex, and Andrew Marshall. Beer, Burger King, and more beer with some Taupo hot – rodders was the order of the night.
The next morning we headed to a different river system for a look.
It turned out to be a good option. Rob hooked up early on, he landed and released his fish and was on again pretty quickly after that. Unfortunately i don’t have a picture because I was on the other side of the river at the time..
The boys… doing their thing
Jack, also doing his thing
The boys caught a few fish that day. Even I managed to break my North Island duck. I pulled a nice brownie from under a tree in a nice run.
We fished right to the limit point for winter fishing and Jack pulled a fish from the final pool.
We all sat on the side of the river at that top pool for about two hours… some talked, some slept, and some even went over for a cast from time to time.
That afternoon when we got back we were joined by Lucas, the final member of our party. I went with Jack for a couple of hours to meet with some others who were in the area, before returning to the cabins to drink a few beers and have more than a few laughs.
I’m glad I didn’t have to sleep in the room we were drinking beer in… it really stunk the next morning. Four guys who’ve all been eating junk food and drinking beer doesn’t make for a nice smelling room. It was disgusting!
That morning we headed back to the same river from the day before, but lower down.
Jack and Andrew Marshall – on point.
I crossed over and fished the same side as Alex, while the others were on the other side of the river. There were a few more fish caught that day… but I only managed to get pictures of fish Alex and I caught. I’m sure the others have more photos.
This brownie was pulled from a pocket at the top of a big papa slab.
Alex with the angry wee rainbow
That was all for the trip. All up it was a great time. Despite tough fishing at times, we pulled through and brought a few to land and had some fun. I can’t wait for the South Island edition this summer… I’m sure the others are looking forward to it just as much!
I managed to get an afternoon fishing before showing our 2011-2012 fly fishing range to the Taupo/Turangi retailers. Richard Dobbinson our mid-upper North Island sales rep and I enjoyed the mild weather and managed to land 4 good fish and lost another few. I even managed to try the stupid planking craze!
There’s just something about Turangi. Fly-fishing has permeated the entire town. Sure, the fishing isn’t what it used to be, but it’d be rude not to make a pilgrimage to Mecca. I made plans to head up with Andrew and Joel for a couple of days. Plans is probably overly generous, the whole trip was very spontaneous with minimal planning (as you’ll soon see).
I’d like to say that we spent the whole drive talking about fishing, but the reality is that when 3 guys get together girls is typically the topic of conversation. Although Joel did spend a while ogling my flybox. We made it up there and set about trying to find some accommodation. Remember what I said about planning? After a fruitless session at the mouth of the TT we decided to settle for the luxury accommodation option…the car. The logistics of sleeping 3 guys in a small car is not easy. I think I drew the short straw as I was curled up across the backseat while the others reclined their seats. There was one concerning moment when I cramped up in the middle of the night and wildly kicked out, nearly putting my foot through the window.
The next morning saw a tired group fishing the middle reaches. It didn’t take long before the local expert, Joel, hooked up to a nice 3lb jack. I then displayed remarkable skill in hooking a fish without realising it.
These fresh bows are quite something. 3lb fish tow you right round the pool in the strong current. I fish quite heavy drags in order to get fish to the net quickly and with a minimum of distress, so it was good to see the new reel handle it without a sweat. On the way back to the river I decided that I really needed my morning wash, so took a small unintentional swim. Bugger me that river is cold. It was a good test for my new pelican camera case though, as no water leaked through it. A few minutes later I found out that Andrew shares my skill at hooking fish, as he wasn’t quite sure whether he had one on or not until his reel started screaming. The noise seemed to induce some sort of catatonic state as his smile didn’t leave for at least an hour.
While I only managed 1 more fish, Joel proceeded to show off by catching 3 more before the fishing slowed.
A move up river brought immediate results. I hooked 3, landing two, out of a deep slow flowing pool. One fish was particularly satisfying, as it required a long downstream presentation with a heap of stack mends.The next spot was a bit of a partyzone, with 7 other anglers trying to fish the same pool.
I managed another nice bow out of here, but the number of anglers was a bit of a deterrent, so we headed off to find solitude (a rare occurrence on the big T). Walking through the trout centre we debated the likeliness of being caught if we dropped our line (accidentally of course) into the small creek flowing through there – I reckon a hare and copper might look enough like a pellet to do well.
He’s got the river pretty well sorted, so it wasn’t much surprise when he pulled 5 fish out of the one pool. The best was this picture perfect 6.25lb brownie.
I’d like to say I did the same, but truth be told I just got grumpy.
There was a breeze blowing downstream which wreaked havoc with my tracking leading to a number of flies lost in bushes behind. After a couple of unlucky misses Andrew managed a nice bow late on in the piece.
With the sun setting we beat our retreat. Dinner was a formal affair of fish and chips eaten in the car and washed down with a service station ice cream.
All up it was a great trip, good company, good weather and good fishing. However, next time I’ll be sure to book accommodation!