“Damsels in Distress” on a New Zealand Stream

Absolutely amazing footage…

“ My wife and I were fishing with friend/guide Dean Whaanga in New Zealand when a combination of bad weather and good timing resulted in a fish giving us the experience of a lifetime. I crawled on my stomach with my camera to the water’s edge, hit record, and watched what was one of the coolest moments I have ever witnessed.”

It only runs for two and a bit minutes, but my guess is you will repeat view several times. Watch in HD and full screen.

See it here.

Blast from the past night fishing article, Updated

The New Zealand Fishing Website have just published an article of mine that appeared way back in 1997 in the New Zealand Fisherman magazine on fishing for trout at night.

The article was actually the first article in four about night fishing in lakes and rivers.

I updated all four articles in my book Fishing Smarter for Trout, which you can read for free on my site.

Since the book was published I have continued to update the articles as I learn more about night fishing – and like all fishing there is always something new too learn.

The joys of winter angling – plenty on offer around NZ

Don’t give up on trout fishing just yet – especially with some of the crisp, clear winter’s days the country’s been served up.

That’s the message from Fish & Game NZ, pointing to productive trout fishing waters including lakes, rivers right throughout the country which are still open to anglers.

Get all the options here. New Zealand-wide

Catching Big Brown Trout in New Zealand

When does chasing big brown trout become an obsession?

I try to get down to the Taupo region on the central North island of New Zealand in March. As autumn starts to bite, brown trout move into the rivers and streams from Lake Taupo to head upstream to spawn. It is usually a reasonably sedate meander, not like the mad dash of pods of rainbows that tend to move up somewhat later.

Usually rivers and streams in March are low and clear, but this does not seem to deter brown trout. Mostly they move at night, spending the day hugging the bottom of deeper water, or tucked in under overhanging, undercut banks. Some hold deep in the branches of fallen trees – untouchable.

This year things were different. A vicious drought affecting the North Island and beyond turned the land from the famed New Zealand green to a drab lifeless brown. Driving down from Auckland I had never seen the countryside so devoid of grass. The sun literally sucking the life out of the land and waterways.

When I reached the Tauranga-Taupo River (TT), I could see the effect of the drought. The river was now a creek, very low and clear. Despite this Steve Yerex, guide and operator of the Keruru Lodge, where I regularly stay, was reasonably upbeat. Browns were in the river in some numbers he reported over the phone, but he suggested that it might take some high level of skill and more than a big helping of luck to pry one or two out of the TT.

Steve was going to be away for a couple of days raft fishing down the Mohaka River, leaving me on my own at the lodge – I liked that.

Arriving late afternoon, I decided to wander a little way downstream with my Tenkara rod and see if I could annoy a few small rainbows which by now were moving downstream to the lake. Over the next hour and a bit, more than a score of fish around 6 to 10 inches were plucked from the shallow runs. Great fun.

Next morning and now in serious fish-hunting mode I headed slowly upstream, peering intently into every pool and undercut bank. The browns were there. Some brutes among them too. Serious brutes. Brutes that have tempted and tormented me for too many years to recall.

Full Story here

Anglers happy as Taupo trout return

Lake Taupo (central North Island, NZ) anglers are enjoying some of the best fishing in years as the world-renowned wild fishery returns limit catches of well conditioned trout.

Department of Conservation Taupo fishery area manager Dave Lumley said the abundance of smelt and zooplankton in the lake was contributing to anglers catching limit bags of good conditioned trout.

A limit bag on Lake Taupo is three fish, each over 40 centimetres (15.7”)  long.

"It’s a continuance of the good fishing which we noticed from early summer, from around mid-November. The fish are bigger and in superb condition, with many caught measuring between 42-45 centimetres."

Lumley said anglers were catching maiden fish, sometimes second spawners, which had not been takeable last summer.

The southern end of the lake, off Omori, Kuratau and Whareroa, was proving productive, as was Waihaha Bay on the western side of the lake, he said.

Climatic changes, floods and eruptions have taken a toll on the fishery in the past 10 years.

Angler numbers have fallen 22 per cent on Lake Taupo since 2005, while adult licence sales have decreased from 12,557 to 9,791 since 2006.

Taupo Hunting and Fishing owner Mike Stent said the fishery had improved each year since 2009.

"It’s coming out of a hole and for the past three years the fishing has been getting better and better.

"The fishery is in good heart, we’ve seen big improvements and there is plenty of smelt around this year for the trout."

Stent hoped the improvements would encourage people to start fishing again.

"A lot of anglers stopped because of the lean years. What many don’t understand is Taupo is a wild fishery and it slowed up because of floods and eruptions over recent years. Many of the spawning runs were wiped out."

Full story here.

My experience: I have fished the Taupo area, especially the rivers spilling into Lake Taupo, regularly over the last year and the number and condition of the trout has been very good indeed – not back to what it was 10 years ago, but certainly getting there.

Let’s face it, how many overseas anglers would love to fish an area where the trout are wild, average around 41cm (16”) long, and round and fat with it?

Four Day Trip to Taupo NZ Area Produced Great Fishing

Just back from a four day trip to fish the Tauranga-Taupo River near Taupo, Central North Island, New Zealand.

On the face of it the fishing should have been hard, the river was low and very clear, the sun was summer shining, and it was blowing hard, at times very hard.

But the river was stacked with fish. There were good numbers of rainbows making their way up-river to spawn, and bigger numbers of fish making their way back down to the lake. Even managed to bag a nice 5ish pound Brown trout – nice surprise.

The fish were not big, but big enough, and the fish in the photo was pretty typical.

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The river may have been stacked with fish, but there were very few anglers about, most of the time I was alone. Bliss!

Mostly used a ‘hopper-dropper’ setup; the dropper being one of Chris Dore’s Glister nymphs. I had these in a range of sizes and weights (including un-weighted). The ‘Hopper’ was a  butt-ugly foam fly of my own twisted imagination which despite appearances was monstered by more than a few fish.

I don’t think I casted ‘blind’ over the whole 4 days – just cast to sighted fish.

Just a quick note, my trip was timed on the basis of a very successful trip same time last year, and year before. I am not a regular diary keeper, but do keep notes on successful trips.

New Fly-Fishing Book: ‘What Trout Want –The Educated Trout and Other Myths’

Quite simply this is the best book I have read on fly-fishing, and I have well over 100 books on fly-fishing in my bookcases. This simplified approach to catching trout, without the baggage of myth, pseudo-science, and self-serving BS is something I have tried to preach in my own books and articles – just wish I could write it half as well.

I don’t care where in the world you fly-fish for trout, read it and become a better fly-fisher.

whattroutwant

“In What Trout Want, Bob Wyatt busts one of fly-fishing’s biggest myths -selectivity- and teaches readers how to:

  • Simplify fly pattern design
  • Reduce the number of patterns needed
  • Improve presentation and stealth
  • Catch pressured trout

Catching trout simplified 

  • A brilliantly written and well-crafted exposé fly fishing’s greatest myths–selectivity, matching the hatch, pressured fish, fish feeling pain, precise imitations, drag-free drifts
  • Recipes for the author’s tried-and-true patterns
  • Practical, down-to-earth suggestions for catching fish”

Terrific Fishing Despite Heavens Opening

oct7tt

Arrived down at the Tauranga-Taupo river, just south of Taupo, central North Island, NZ, just after 1pm, last Sunday. Thirty minutes later was on the river, which was clear and as I found, full of fish. Brilliant fishing for round, fat and fit rainbows in the 3 to 4 lb. range. Better still I had the river to myself.

Tucked myself into bed that night, happiness filled and expecting more of the same next day.

Well it was more of the same that Monday morning, but by afternoon the rain Gods decided to exert their superiority over the river. Very heavy rain persisted down all afternoon, all night, and Tuesday morning revealed a  river risen to flood, and I contemplated an early drive home.

I decided to stick it out, and see if the river dropped on Wednesday – it did and became fishable if not still high and slightly milky coloured.  Not only did it remain fishable by it seemed that several big pods of fish decide to use the increased water  levels to make their  way up the river from the lake.

But the drop in the water level was accompanied by a mini invasion of anglers. Locals know that extra water means extra fish in the system. But by walking further up the river I was able to find un-populated water – and heaps of fish.

So despite the weather interruption had an excellent 3 days fishing.

Get Down and Get Ugly: Chris Dore’s Creeper Fly

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Chris Dore is one of New Zealand’s top guides; specialising in the south of the South Island of New Zealand. He has a a very refreshing attitude to fishing and fly tying – and ‘keep it simple’ seems to be his watch-word. But making things simple requires a lot of knowledge and experience – Chris has a heap of both.

Chris ties these ugly brutes for early season headwaters on size 6 to 10 long shank hooks ( I think I will use Tiemco 200R to give a slight bend). The rest you can pretty much work out for yourself.

Wrap some lead (or substitute) around the hook, tie in a bunch of black hair or fur for a tail, tie in copper (or gold?) wire, and some black flexi-body or any stretchy sheet, dub up to 2/3 with hares ear, then some black dubbing, for thorax and head. Pull the back over the fly and tie down at the head. (Quick tip: before you cut off the back, pull the excess back towards the tail and throw in a few ‘locking turns’ to really secure the back). Follow with the wire to form segments, and tie off at the head, whip finish and give it a dab or two of head cement. Simple. Quick. Done.

I suggested adding some wriggly rubber legs – Chris said he used to, but now does not bother because the fly is just as effective naked. Simplicity again.

Chris describes the fly as his ‘get noticed fly’, to fish in edge waters and boulder runs. Go easy on the lead, you want the fly to move through where heavier flies would snag.

That is about. I will be tying up a bunch of Creepers and Glister Nymphs for a trip to the central North island in early October, as Spring gets into full swing here.