Hi strangers, I have arrived back from a great couple of weeks of solid work and have got some great stories and memories to share with you from both the mighty Tongariro and remote backcountry rivers. I have not stopped with guiding the last ten days but I should think it will be the last big rush of work before things start to go a little quiet on the guiding front-so it had to be done.

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I have not been on the Tongariro in the last week but I do understand that it has fished fairly well if you are willing to move around. The recreational release which happened on Saturday gave opportunity for the river to fish fairly well and I think the best session was experienced while the river was rising and the fish had some cover to move about in. Brown trout would have especially been on the move and vulnerable while the water was up like it was and fishing the edges should have seen some sort of results for most anglers that were not put of with dirty leafy water. In the next day or so it will become obvious if any fish have been pulled through the river by the release of fresh water but without a dirty big low or drop in barometric pressure I’m not sure weather it was really enough.

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Before I left for the backcountry I spent 3 days with 3 wonderful clients from Hong Kong and we managed to find fish every day by just staying on the Tongariro and nymphing the famous pools. The best day we had was again in the Judges and all the fish we landed from that great little run visited Horty’s smokehouse and I’m sure by now are on the plane to Hong Kong. Other places that we found fish in were Boulder Reach,Bain pool, Admirals, Stag and the Major Jones which we nymphed in most cases with small naturals and slightly lighter bombs as casting was not there strong point. The best nymph for me at the moment seems to be a small Quassiemodo which is put out by Umpqua in a size #14. This fly seems to sport the best of both worlds with a green flash back tied into a PT type style nymph on a caddis grub type hook-trout love them!!

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Fishing over the easter period for me was a nightmare with so many anglers in most of the pools in the Tongariro and trying to get clients the best shot at not a great deal of trout was a task which I may steer away from next year. That’s the problem with the Taupo fishing,with everyone wanting to try a new sport in the good weather when they are holidaying from work it makes for busy time for everyone. If anybody wants the best shot at enjoying the river by themselves, catching good silver fish and having the chance to experience that special time of morning that the Tongariro offers I strongly advice you to come fishing with me this winter.

The highlight for me in the last week was working out of Spot X fishing lodge in the backcountry guiding Ben and Gary from the USA. The backcountry rivers this year have probably been the hardest that anyone has seen them for many years but last week they certainly turned my head and gave me hope and confidence to get more work going out that way. The water is gin clear, the fish are strong hard fighting well conditioned wild Rainbows and Browns,the scenery is awesome with native forest lining most fishing holes and the lodge is comfortable,homey and you feel very welcomed by the hosts who bend over backwards to meet your requirements for a experience you wont forget in a hurry.

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It was such a pleasure to fish this exclusive private water which is only available through Spot X Lodge and I can honestly say I had some of my best ever guiding days fishing this untouched water. Gary and Ben both achieved personal bests when landing a 6lb hen and a 7lb jack which both took them down river and left them needing a cup of tea after a few quick photos  and a stress free release. All fish in the rivers were in great condition and really fat and we think that they are fattening up for the spawning season which is not to far away for these fisheries. Fish seemed to be holding in good numbers in the obvious water but I’m sure exceptional fisherman would pull fish from all pocket water as well, its just  a matter of getting the nymphs down and achieving that perfect drift. In the 3 days Ben and Gary fished with me they fought 49 fish of various sizes from half a pound through to fish that would have been pushing 7lb. Everyone must realize that 7lb of wild backcountry fish is  a hand full and chasing them down the rapids is a must if they decide to go, getting side onto trout is important in any river when fighting fish they wont be pulled back up river.

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Being stealthy in these rivers is also important and reading water before walking straight in will see your catch rate increase quite a lot. Using small nymphs and flurocarbon leaders will also increase the catch rate, you just have to remember that these fish have not seen anglers before and will scare easily compared to fish like we have in the Taupo fishery.

I’m heading over to Hawkes Bay this week for some time away fishing the Mohaka and trying to get a deer in the Kawekas so will be able to report back on another fishery mid week.This is also classed as backcountry and also produces some awesome fishing at this time of year with a lot pressure than over the summer months. The Tongarioro spawning runs will not be too far away and we will once again be spoilt for choice with the best fish of New Zealand stocking up in the Taupo rivers waiting for the perfect moment to spawn.

Be lucky

Andrew