Hi again,

One of the most pleasing parts of my job as a professional guide is looking back at photo’s and staying connected with the friendships that I build upon the way. Every year I meet people from all walks of life with different views on the world and very different outlooks on life but all share the same passion of the great outdoors and the gentle art of Fly fishing. I have been extremely lucky to have some fantastic clients over the past year and as you know keep regular contact with alot of you through email,websites or even wetting a line with you every now and again. It has been a fantastic summer season so I just thought I would reminisce with you on some of the best fish that I was lucky enough to guide you to. They may not be the biggest or best looking fish  to you but at the time to the person it was their personal trophy which is all that matters.

The back country this year really was great the only hard thing about it was trying to keep it semi quiet as to not make your secret spot busy with other anglers. Angling pressure was heavy in the back country rivers especially over public holidays, Christmas and Easter periods. With the Taupo fishery being quite hard to fish over the summer with record low water conditions the back country saw alot more anglers than usual. Public access was a favourite with many and guiding became very difficult in the more popular places which pushed most guides further a field.

I personally made the most of the upper Tongariro and had some fantastic days with out seeing any other anglers by the use of a raft. It was my first season in conjunction with Rafting New Zealand and every trip worked out just brilliantly which has already secured many trips booked in for the opening of the upper river this year. If you want to catch big numbers of trout in the 3-4lb bracket and have a great experience white water rafting this is the trip for you. The upper section opens in December and this is always the best month to get into this water as there are many fish still up this high after spawning. Another option available will be rafting the mighty Mohaka which is also a once in a life time trip and one you will tend to keep bringing up while having a quiet beer with your mates.

When I was looking for untouched water in the backcountry I made the most of the use of the quad bikes and travelled deep into the Tongariro forest accessing the headwaters of the Wanganuie. This trip is not for the faint hearted and this year it was simply amazing for both nymphing and dry fly fishing. The adventure starts with an hour long ride into the river on the quad bikes through small streams and tight cut tracks which meander through the hills winding down to the river. Early and late in the season this place really fires and you can expect to hook at least 10-20 fish in here without too much trouble.

Every pool has resident trout in them and this year they were in great condition and were looking really good for spawning at the end of the season. Many fish are lost in here due to the strength and willingness to escape  which just keep the anglers coming back for more every year. If you were lucky enough to fish one of these beats this year you would know exactly what I am talking about and there is a different beat for you to do next year fishing the same sort of water. I must admit to having one average day in here with regular clients Glenn and Teresa  which I was more dissapointed with than them. On this particular day we only hooked about 8 fish and all I can put it down to is the slightly coloured water which seems to really put all back country fish of the bite. I have found this in all rivers back country and prefer to fish when levels are low and clear or dropping and clearing up, which is the opposite when fishing for spawning fish in Taupo rivers.

Many anglers love to drive for hours and find those special little streams in pursuit of that picture perfect trophy Brown which is fine by me as most of the time you are driving over the Tongariro which holds the biggest Browns in the North Island over the summer months. The Tongariro is a great water in the summer for both dry fly,nymphing and chasing huge Browns in the lower river which anglers put in the too hard basket. You will be suprised  at the amount of fish you will see and even catch if you just focus on brown trout and adjust to pools and methods which will favour this species. I think you will be pleasantly suprised as you will pick up Rainbows using the same techniques but you will also be putting yourself into that small percentage of anglers which actually get to experience the strength and beauty of  a thick shouldered Brown. As you can see from the photo below Bryan Smith from Las Vegas was pleased he decided to fish the famous Tongarrio river and target big brown trout.

I would like to thank Andrew for the wonderful two days of fishing that I spent with him on the Tongariro.  It was one of the best trips of my life and I owe much of its success to his expertise and company.  Fishing with the best guide on one of the top rivers in the world yielded many impressive fish including the fish of a lifetime- a 10lb brown.  We fished all types of water, used a variety of different methods, and, most importantly, had a great time.  I have fished many of the top rivers in the world and can safely say that the Tongariro River is my favorite.
I can’t wait to return next year to see what else Andrew has up his sleeves and show my fishing buddies how good fishing can be!
Talk to you soon,
Bryan”

I guided Bryan for 2 days and had an absolute ball catching well over 20 fish ranging from 2-10lb the largest obviously being this beauty which weighed  just over the magic mark of ten pounds. We released this fish despite it being a trophy and Bryan has had a copy or fake of it made and is in his office back in sin city which reminds him everyday of the epic battle it gave. I have never been so nervous squeezing such a fish into a net before and can just remember trying to concentrate not to get the dropper hooked up in the mesh of the net before the fish was in the sack. Serious fish like this don’t come about every outing but if you spend enough time on the water and develop the skills like Bryan has your time will come.

With the winter season well and truly upon us and the rivers filling up with both trout and anglers we should hear of and see some special fish and memorable days. Already I have heard of several big Rainbows caught in both the Hine and the Tongarrio following the latest rain and it has become obvious to most that the fish are in much better condition than past years.

Just for a quick little update on the fishing from the last couple of days it has been reported that all rivers are fishable and are holding big numbers of trout. The smaller rivers such as Hine and Waitahanuie have had good trout in them over the past week but they are moving  through very fast so being on the spot at the right time helps. With extra flow make sure you fish the right amount of weight or they simply wont being seeing your fly. Westerly wind continues to blow which will continue to push fish into these two rivers as long as they are ready to come in. The Tongariro is still running fairly swiftly but it has heap of fish scattered throughout most pools which are nearly all fresh. A few reports of good browns have been trickling in and I will not be suprised to hear of a double in the next few days.

The Tauranga Taupo will be ready to fish now and the lower reaches should still be holding fish as long as they did not have too long in flooded water to get too high and away from the anglers. There were a few days where this river could not be fished and this may have given the fish an opportunity to run high untoutched. I have not had any reports in with regards to fish as yet but I’m sure they will be there.

Sorry if you have missed out on the photo wall today but if I was to put you all on the writing would be pages long and I would never get to bed.

Tight lines

Andrew Christmas