Hi again,

We have had another period of exciting fishing and great clients. I have again had good people which have wanted to reach backcountry rivers and go the extra mile for remote fresh fishing. Over the past couple of days I have also rafted the Upper Tongariro with my clients, Herbert, Jim , Chris and Liz. I employ local rafting company to access this water, Chris and Liz have done it for the last few years each time with good results.

Every December my first week always seems booked with clients wishing to fish the upper Tongariro. Generally the Tongariro in the upper section will be well stocked with spawning fish and some exciting fishing will usually be had, scenery is always jaw dropping. Good friends and clients Chris and Liz have fished with me the last 3 seasons and had good trips each time. Good results can be easy to get in these waters but some good anglers and good guiding decisions will count for most fish. Anglers will see hundreds of trout through the day but only a small percentage of these trout will actually be able to be caught. As many of these fish are spawning they will be seen in the tails of the pools generally in mirror water with very clear conditions, forget about catching these you will simply be wasting your day and will most likely spook them on the first cast. Best results are found in oxygenated water, back waters and the deeper heads of pools, reading water is a must and a good guide will improve your day tenfold. Remember if you can see them they can see you, they would have seen others and will generally be their next time you raft down.

Chris and Liz can both be considered good fisherman which try hard and get results when fish are there to be caught. They come to Turangi for a week every year and its always the first week in December as they have found this to be good weather, good fishing and fits in well before the river gets too busy.  After reading some websites they again thought they were in for a good week locally as they were reporting as always having plenty of fish in the system but this is simply not the case. Chris and Liz fished 3 days on  the Tonagriro for nothing, zero, zilch!! Not suprizing but disappointing all the same so I was happy to pick them up and spend a great day with them hooking into 15 or so and send them both home with their limits. Don’t believe everything you read eh.  Other clients Jim and Herbert had a similar day but with maybe a few more fish and nicer conditions and Herbert actually caught a great fish which may have weighed 5 lb. They also enjoyed their day but were surprised when I didn’t stop the raft to fish for obvious fish holding in the tails of pools, you need to know where to fish big water to maximize the amount of hook ups. You wont be alone, the upper river in the first two weeks will get fished each day by at least two rafts per day, don’t worry there is plenty of room. Numbers in the upper section are ok but not great compared to other years as they simply have not gone past the bridge in numbers that they have done in past times?? Get in quick!! The trout in the upper section wont hold for long, most seasons fish well for the month of December and then numbers are drastically reduced once they have finished spawning and start to head back to the lake in search for deep , cold, food rich water. If we have any floods in the next few weeks this will also wreck the fishing in the upper section as it will wash the fish to the lower river and out to the lake, its ok its natural. Basically if you are keen get in quick and make the most of it or think about it for next December.  There’s the truth, all in all a very good trip and the best option for this river currently.

Other Taupo waters have suffered the same fate this season, the upper Hine has very little trout life which is a real shame as this can be and has been a great little dry fly summer water close to home. This river was great during the year and got a flogging from most anglers as it was clearly the standout river but it might be suffering for it now.

Backcountry has again be awesome especially if you are ok with putting in some effort. I had two fit strong Australians who wanted to fish a headwater river so I took them deep into the native bush with quad bikes. It was a big , long 14 hour day with its fare share of events but we had a great time. First of all we overcame some mud holes, dug out tracks and sheer cliff drops to make our way close to the river, challenging with the slight drizzle we were getting. Troy and Kieren both thought they were going for a stroll through a farmers field but within 30 seconds soon realized they had signed up for something quite different. After nearly 2 hours on the bikes we finally could see a perfect river which smelt of trout and we were not disappointed . The fist two pools Troy dominated with his 5 wt and landed  two perfect 5lb fish a cracking 6lb hen which had him smiling and dealing out a fare bit of abuse to his brother Kieren. Straight away we knew it was all worth the effort and we were in for one hell of a day. Using a dry fly dropper Kieren soon hooked his first which weighed 4lb, they had both scored their largest ever trout and we were only into the first hour or fishing. Both anglers agreed the fishing, scenery and all over package was fantastic and the best they had experienced, fishing in Aus was going to be quite boring in the future. NZ native bush sure turned things on for these guys as we saw a Red deer, a huge Eel, Whio and of course the amazing scenery -trout were only distracting. I think by the end of the beat we had landed 10 good fish and must have lost the same, most pools were holding at least one big fish and Im sure we walked past a few also. Quasimodo’s stole the show and were by far the most effective nymph for us, no need for loads of weight just enough to get close to the trout’s depth and they will move for it. I never had an opportunity to ask the guys to throw a dry at a rising fish but it wont be long and they will be looking up searching for those Cicadas.

Weekend coming more raft trips are booked with regular clients staying at Creel Lodge and Sportsman’s, both these motels are fantastic for fisherman with clean facilities and stunning gardens. Also they are quiet!! Creel lodge has the tackle store and the newly developed café which adds attraction for many partners or anglers with sore legs needing their coffee fix. The new smoker at the motel is also getting a work out from guests, seems very clean and delivers the perfect smoke every time. I love the Creel Lodge and recommend it to any family or fisherman needing to relax and put their head down, bookings essential as they are busy!!

Report back next week

Regards

Andrew