Hi people,

               Ok I’m sorry about the lack of reports this week and I do apologise to those of you that are always wanting a quick read and update of the local fishing but with guiding the first half of the week and then taking of into the bush for the later half it as been very busy.

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As most of you know the Tongariro and other smaller streams flowing into Taupo have been fishing quite well with most fish coming up and attacking a Cicada type pattern in the heat of the day and evening rises with smaller drys like Elk Hair Caddis or Adams para has been a good way of frequently encountering action. The Tongariro again is relatively quiet with anglers and you can expect to have stretches of river to yourself to explore and fish the edges quietly with out having to worry about someone walking in on you. Nymphing is still taking some really good fish and is the better way to target the silver fresh fish as they seem to be feeding deeper and harder on emerging nymphs, rather than coming to the surface for a crunchy Cicada. The middle reaches are fishing well if you are willing to keep moving about and find the fish, it’s pointless to get locked into one position on one pool and fish blind to nothing or no result all day. Most people have found the Tongariro to be full of fish and are even saying that they are seeing some fishing that was just about as good as the winter  and with the added bonus of hooking and landing one of the huge browns that seem to be everywhere at the moment, it really is an attractive fishing option.

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I have just spent the past three days in the very very backcountry of the Mohaka river on a 3 day rafting adventure with two good friends Andrew Blake and Ross Novac. Both are very good fisherman and it really was a pleasure to share the water and listen to such experienced fisherman as you learn so much watching and taking note of how someone approaches fish in a pool and comparing it to the way I might go about it. These guys knew everything about insects, fish numbers per square meter, where fish will be and what environment we were passing through, I felt very intimidated with all the scientific names for a bug that trout eat.

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Ross is the owner of an amazing raft which we assembled from just a few bags of poles and a couple of floating tubes which he had up and running and on the water in an hour of getting to the Hot Springs. Ross is  a true professional when it comes to knowledge of the river and how to approach a rapid and at not one point did I feel like we were in trouble or felt scared about going down swirly fast white water with Ross on the oars,with Andrew on the oars that was a different story and I opted to walk. Ross has been coming to New Zealand for 25 years from Alaska and I bet there is not too many people around that has explored our rivers like he has, and his ability to handle the raft in tight situations and stalk cruising trout really shows his experience.

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The Mohaka is my favourite backcountry river and the scenery is second to none with native bush, high gorgey cliffs and breathtaking pools that will excite every angler as they all had fish in them with hard fighting rainbows in the fast water and cruising browns in the back eddies sipping small flies in the foam line.. The weather was awesome thank god as I’m a bit of a sook when it comes to camping and I would have rather ed been tucked up in a hut somewhere with gas and blankets but I must admit the clear skies at night and hot summer days made the experience second to none. It’s not that I don’t like camping it’s just all the crap that you have to take with you to be comfortable and with limited camping experience I learnt the hard way and even had to cook dinner hanging on a stick over the open fire, this is where Ross again came fully prepared and he looked very cosy on his blow up mattress and one man bivvy while me and Blakey shivered on the sand of the river bank.

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THE FISHING was great and nearly every pool that we fished properly produced at least a hook up and you could fish confidently and expect that indicator to go under and have  a hard fighting backcountry fish screaming of down the river. This is where the raft comes into it’s own and I can really see the benefits of being able to raft down the river pull up and fish whichever pool that you think looks fishy if it looks too hard or a waste of time just paddle on past as you can bet that it wont be far before the next killer run.

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All fish were in great condition and displayed typical backcountry fighting abilities and all weighed somewhere between 2lb and 5lb with the odd fish sighted that may have been bigger. Paddling through the pools you are able to see exactly how many fish in are in the pool as they are not spooked by the raft for quite some time and with dead clear water they are easily spotted. The Mohaka is home to a high population of brown trout and they are always found in the slower area of the pool during the day and seem to move into faster water just before dark and feed quite well, we actually caught alot of fish after setting up camp just before dark and Ross and Andrew both hooked into fish just on dark matching the hatch.

To my surprise the Cicadas have not really started up there as yet and we could not entice anything to rising for that so most fish were caught nymphing natural patterns like Hare and Coppers and Pheasant tail nymphs sometimes with a variation like rubber legs or a flash back in it. Backcountry fish will take big flies and I would recommend that you use them when fishing for them to minimize mid stream releases.

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Something that I always enjoy while out in the Mohaka is attracting Eels around the campfire at night and this trip was no exception with huge numbers of Eels of about a metre turning up for a free feed of sausages. Blakey hates the creatures and suffers from eel-phobia a rare disease that cant be cured so when they turn up he shoots of to bed to avoid having contact with the slimy buggers. An interesting conversation was had about the effect Eels has on the river and the food source for our trout which I hadn’t thought about before as they must be eating  quite  a chunk of food that I would rather see our trout get. I’m sure they would eat insects, crayfish and all that type of food that our trout need to get bigger and I bet the numbers of Eels out weighs the number of trout that’s for sure.

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All in all it was a fantastic trip and from the fishing point of view it really is second to none and one trip that all keen anglers must do while the weather is so settled. There are a few different options that can be done on the Mohaka from raft and I have a raft and guide primed and waiting so get in know and send me an email and we can see what package we can put together for you and your mates to experience the trip of the year which will have you coming back for sure.

Tight lines Andrew Christmas