Hi guys,

Sorry about the reports again lately but most of my time has been spent on the river in search of fish with my clients or finding new places to show you all. The best fishing I have had this week has been by far on the upper Tongarrio with the use of a raft. This has been fantastic this season and I have been lucky to be a part of many trips into this wonderful part of the region.

I rafted with Stu from Australia and Ross from TRM which worked out fantastically with perfect weather and fish hooked in every pool we stopped at. Stu is a great fisherman and it was a pleasure to watch him lay a perfect line time and time again and let us know that there were trout in there as Ross had me worried for a while that the pools were empty. The fish have conditioned very well over the past month and out of roughly 20 fish we had one old spawned jack, the rest were in good condition and had great fighting qualities. Fish are all roughly the same size with the odd one pushing over 4lb but the average being about 3lb which seems typical of the Tongarrio these days. Every time that I have guided up high I have found that the best nymphs to use are generally very big unlike what we are used to with most rivers at this time of year.

Almost all fish will be taken on the heavy larger  bomb this is why it is important to fish a hare and copper or something similar tied into it and not just split shot for weight.

Scenery will never change up high on this river and it is one trip that I will not get sick of doing as it is always so amazing wether it be raining or stinking hot on a cloudless day. There is always trout to be had up here and they are generally in the mood to take nymphs or slurp dry flys unlike some other parts of the river at the moment.

What will you be doing at 94? For the last two days I have guided my oldest client to date and have enjoyed bringing back memories and creating new one’s for James. We  did not get a lot of fishing done in our time together but still had a great time learning skills from each other and comparing things to 60 years ago-mainly fish size. I really don’t want to become old just getting on the river and standing solidly  on rocks looks bloody hard let alone fighting a fresh run fish which has just run down the nearest rapid. Anyway a huge effort was achieved fishing for two days and you’re doing bloody well for 94 mate and hope to see you when you’re 100, just like we talked about.

There are some great fish in the lower Tongarrio at the moment but they do seem to have a case of lock jaw during the day and very hard to encourage to take anything. We have had a few solid days of really hot weather so this may see a little more action on the surface involving the Cicadas which we are all waiting for and watching closely. There seems to be a lot of fish sitting hard on the sand in most pools at the moment and are easily polarized but getting these fish interested is very hard without a stealthy approach-so step slowly and keep low.

Most of the river has some very good browns in at the moment but again aren’t quite eating how we would like them to. Most of these are at about 5lb with odd one slightly larger at 8lb or so which can only mean the bigger buggers are due to follow in the next few weeks. Full stealth mode will be needed to fool these older trout and even more skill to get them on the bank so take your time and make the only opportunity count.

The backcountry seems to still be getting a lot of foot traffic and you will find guides in most areas with clients so in my opinion the place to be is on the mighty Tongas.

Angling pressure is low and you will find stretches of river to yourself to explore at your own pace. This is one river that if you put the time and effort in you will not get skunked and it will only sharpen your skills for when you do make that big overnight trip into the remote backcountry.

Speak soon

Andrew