Hi guys,

With high water conditions throughout New Zealand many of you would have struggled to get to the water you were hoping to have fished by now but with slightly better weather in the past week or so rivers may have dropped just enough. I’m not sure what all the high water has done to the fishing but I sure don’t like fishing back country with high conditions as it totally breaks up the pools and changes where fish should be holding. I always do very well with low clear water but find the fish almost turn of when things are not quite right and only ever pick up the odd fish here and there.

I couldn’t wait any longer and took the opportunity to explore a piece of water which I have been dreaming about for sometime now . With the water still high and the gorge which I knew I would have to get through there was only one way into it and the use of the raft proved invaluable. As you know with all my rafting I use the skills and rafts from Luke at Rafting New Zealand who are situated in Turangi and the trip we did yesterday will definitely be getting put on the list for clients to do this summer as it is awesome water with some of the best scenery in the country.

This river winds it way through native bush and has an amazing gorge which will only ever be accessed by the use of the raft as the cliffs are far too step and bush to thick to ever access by foot. This natural beauty means that the trout fishing in this area should be pretty good when the conditions are right, fish should also be of a nice size as they are resident fish that dont get alot of pressure.

As yesterday was only a rece we really  flew through the pools and did not stop at many runs at all as I was not quite sure how long the rafting would take or what might be around the corner. This trip is the perfect length for a day trip and will be suited for any age of person with interests in fly fishing and sight seeing. I must admit some of the trout we came across yesterday were hard to catch and very spooky so a half decent cast will be needed to fool these fish but when you get it right man is it worth it! Pools are quite deep in the gorge and a little bit of weight is needed but where it spills out onto the flats small fast runs are the most productive areas to be fishing. The bottom line is if you put the effort into getting into these areas you will be rewarded eventually.

The trout in here are famous for having the ability to pull line and when they are in the right condition they will be the hardest fighting fish in the country and yesterday they lived up to their name. In one of the first pools in the gorge I hooked a solid fish which stayed deep and slowly pulled line all over the pool and had that very heavy feel about it before snagging me in some structure which was at the head of the pool so that one left me wondering what was connected to the other end.

Paul hooked a smaller but feisty jack in the same pool and walked him down the river before getting the opportunity to slide him onto the gravel for a quick photo and release. All day we fished with naturals trying various sizes and exotic patterns in hope of finding that secret fly but at the end of the day the trusty Hare and Copper was as good as any. Bit disappointing when all that effort goes into thinking up that killer pattern and all that is really needed is a roughly tied classic pattern which most people would have in their box.

As you can see from the smile on my face I was able to tame one of the monsters of this river after I think one of the strongest fights I have seen from a trout. This solid silver fantastic looking trout stripped line at a screaming rate and had me doubting tippet joins and knots which are usually tied in a hurry. I actually thought the fish was foul hooked as I picked her up in a fast riffle and the indicator shot sideways from the interference of the fish. After about ten minutes and a hundred metres down river I finally was able to get the first look at my fish and was glad to see she was hooked in the mouth and it was a fair fight.

When the fish knew it was in trouble it steamed back out into the middle of the run and did it’s best to wind about a few more rocks but she was getting tired and I knew it was a last ditched effort to escape getting her photo taken. With the trout back within a few metres of the bank I could start to see the beauty and the condition of this fish and I once again felt that feeling overwhelm my entire body just like I did when I was fishing with Dad as a child landing my first fish. As a guide I see and involve myself with alot of anglers catching fish and don’t often get to feel this feeling as I am helping someone achieve their dreams and get a buzz out of it that way but yesterday it returned and it felt good. I slipped the fish gently into the rocks on the bank and it lay there nicely to have the hook removed from the grissle of her lip and her photo taken half a dozen times before release. Although this fish was very tired from an epic battle it only took a few seconds finning into the oxygenated water to gain the adrenalin to shoot of into the rapids once again-hopefully to gain those vital couple of pounds to achieve double figure status.

Using the raft has many advantages from enjoying scenery, choosing your fishing pools, accessing water that is hard to get at, easy on the body and at the very least having a blast paddling through the rapids which throw water up at you. There are many raft trips available now and this one will be one worth doing while we still have spring flows and low angling pressure. There are still some available dates in the first few weeks of December to hit the upper Tongariro when it opens and if you are keen to see and enjoy this water this is the perfect time to book it and get up there, but be quick.

Hope your all angling on getting out this weekend and enjoying the massive resource we are able to enjoy.

Andrew Christmas