Like other trips like this, it all started out pretty much as usual. I was going down to the Taupo region of the central North Island of New Zealand, for what I hoped would coincide with the start of annual run of brown trout into the rivers and streams that flow into Lake Taupo.
I arrived to weather that was also pretty much as expected for autumn, clear skies, (maybe too clear) and a hint of a chill in the air. The main river I was going to fish, the Tauranga-Taupo, was low and very clear, again, maybe too clear. So, I was not expecting great fishing.
The next morning I set off up the river, and found there was no one else on the river where I was fishing. Big plus tick for that.
I also noticed lots of fish in the river. Well, to be truthful, for the first hour or two, most noticed me about one second before I noticed them fleeing to wherever it is where trout go when they notice fishermen.
But soon enough I shook off the city cloak of unawareness, and began to notice fish before they noticed me, and fling a fly at them. Sometimes they liked the fly and bit it, other times they treated the fly with utter disdain, and after repeated casts slowly moved off to that secret trout place.
Now, you may remember I was down at Taupo to catch browns, but I never saw one, but rainbows where there in big numbers.
Big numbers of rainbows was encouraging, but what was even more encouraging and unexpected was the size of the fish. In recent years the average size of Taupo area rainbows has been in decline, to the point where any fish over three pounds was considered a good catch.
Recent reports however suggested that the average rainbow size and condition coming up to spawning was well up on recent years.
The reports were spot on. That first day I caught and released 16 or 17 fish, not one of which was less than 3lb. Most were over a pound or two over that weight, a couple may have been even bigger.
The fish were in wonderful condition, deep and round, fat as butter, and fought long and hard… [full story]
(Terrible photo I know – but left my camera at home – and my phone camera is, well you can see.)