G’day guys,

As you all now it is a busy time in the tourism industry and most attractions and things to do in Taupo seem to be busy so that should be a good sign that things may  be on the up for New Zealand. The local fishing scene has been fairly solid and with local knowledge and the will to explore you will find fish in most of the rivers close to Taupo.

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Fishing at this time of year really is the cream because you can get up at 5am and get through the pools first or wait till later in the evening and experience some breathtaking sunsets and take part in some dry fly action or simply watch and witness natures evening rise that pulls people from all over the world. Others simply are happy staying at home with family and friends and enjoying the smaller things in life like great summer bbq’s and a hit with the cricket bat, whatever it is it’s alot of fun at this time of year.

Saturady I had the pleasure of guiding Johan from Sweden for his second time since he has been travelling New Zealand and as we had already fished the Tongariro we decided to hit the backcountry in search for a sizable Brownie. In my experience I think the anglers from Sweden are the best in the world as I have never taken anyone that was not a competent caster and could not adjust to kiwi conditions, they are a delight to fish with.

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I picked Johan up from his “WICKED “camper on Taupo’s waterfront at 6am and we made our way around the back of the mountain as quickly as we could as the rivers that are available to the public has been getting alot of attention the last few weeks with great weather and the fishing improving. It was again a perfect morning and we were the only ones on the river so spirits were high as we proceeded up river over bouldery rocks to a few special places that I  know. I love fishing out here as it really is a change of scenery from the Tongariro and all the trout are hard fighting brutes of fish which keep me guessing.

Johan had his own rod and wanted to try it out on New Zealand fish and felt comfortable casting a rod that is his own so I reluctantly agreed that he tried his 8ft 3 weight until I had good grounds to say no on. It was still early in the morning and we were fishing deep pools so nymphing was the method we attacked them with early using small black nymphs and semi weighted front fly to achieve depth.

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An hour had past and we had not touched a fish and as usual I was starting to worry about things and wondering where the first was going to come from and were we using the correct patterns. I left Johan in a piece of fast water as I wondered up to the next pool to have a look see with the polaroids, I had not long turned my back and I heard a holler from behind and we had hooked up into a feisty Rainbow which really was controlling the fight and had Johan rock hopping down the river with steam train attached and rod doubled over. Unfortunately the hook pulled and the fish was gone but luckily Johan still had his rod as I had wondered about it at one point.

From then on the fishing was exciting and we spotted  and spooked fish in most pools, the slower water holding browns and rainbows sitting in the fast water. Generally they were bloody hard to catch and everything we presented usually was inspected and ignored by the bigger fish, we did manage to land  a small  brownie to kick the day off fish wise from a slow sleepy lie on the edge of the fast water using a dry and dropper beneath. Some of the fish we came across were double figures and looked in awesome condition but were not playing the game as we tried to coach  them into taking the dry or the dropper and almost seemed as if they has seen alot of anglers already this season. Johan could not believe the size of the trout and was happy enough witnessing the largest fish he had ever seen in the wild as he was used to catching fish around the kilo mark back home. The sun was blazing and chucking out some lovely heat and we even had mayfly flying all around us but still we did not see a fish come to the surface and feed which is really surprising for December.

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Finally Johan fooled a good fish with a small nymph below a stimulator pattern and we were stuck into our first really good fish, the importance of landing this one was massive and I knew it meant allot to Johan as we had already seen the fish and he was excited. This fish was strong and knew his pool and seemed to get his nose into every rock that was available to him and use the current to full advantage. The fight went on for ten minutes or so and finally the Brownie gave up and Johan was declared winner as we had the large 5lb gold flanked fish in the net getting ready for a few pictures before his release back home. Thank god we were of the mark and we had proved that they could be caught with a little bit of patience, these fish are big for a reason and wont be caught like Taupo spawning fish.

It was not long and we were hooked up again in the same pool this time on the nymphing outfit which was the three weight and yes again the fish won as it dragged Johan down the river, now he was banned from using  that rod. The rest of the day was relatively quiet in the way of catching fish but allot more were seen they just were not on the feed and a little spooky than usual. One more smallish Rainbow was hooked and landed on the way back to the car in a pool that we overlooked on the way up, all up for the day we hooked 6 landed 3 and spotted over 20 good fish which we agreed was still a very rewarding day.

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The back country is a special place and even with a  hard day it still is an amazing place to visit if you have not been out that way before. I was a little disappointed that we did not see any action on the surface as it was hot and bright and plenty of insect life around so maybe we are few weeks away from constant surface feeding. Another thing that upsets me in those sorts of places is spin fisherman, we saw three when we got back to the car and i have no idea why fisheries would not make it fly fishing only as it is such a fragile fishery. I don’t know how many they catch and  kill but I know that they don’t like walking far so that plays in our favour I suppose.

A  great  day was had once again and a well deserved beer enjoyed by both of us back at the car and endless chitty chat about the big ones that we could not catch, that sort of chat will always occur when returning home from a place like that. Well done Johan you were a pleasure to spend a  couple of days with and I hope for safe travels back to Sweden and maybe we will see you next year, without the three weight rod!

Tight lines and screaming reels, Andrew Christmas