IMPORTANT MESSAGE FOR ANGLERS:
Just before we get on to “Wading Tips” we need to emphasise and repeat how good the TONGARIRO fishing is at the moment.
In the last week we have had so many regulars and old timers calling in to confirm it is the best fishing they have experienced on the Tongariro in the last 12 or so years. The condition of the fresh run “silver bullets” is extraordinary. Too many stories of broken rods (mine included) and big trout escaping to repeat. Wonderful…
Now it looks like we are in for a week of dirty weather, for the start of the school holidays, which will only add to the spawning runs. You really should get here asap.
WADING THE TONGARIRO
Images – taken August 2013 – of “misguided” anglers wading across the tail of Blue Pool. Stupid and quite unnecessary…
After meeting a couple of visiting anglers looking very soggy and sorry for themselves recently, I thought it an appropriate time to post another “wading hints” message – so I pinched the following advice from the experts.
One thing I notice not mentioned in the following advice (and arguably a most important hint?) when shuffling across the current, is to keep your feet well apart to improve stability – to widen the “pyramid shaped base” of your stance. Personally I have a problem with one weak ankle (on its third replacement) so am very aware of crossing carefully, always using a wading pole without slipping in.
Fortunately on the Tongariro there are many many easier accessible casting spots where wading is not compulsory.
But this is for those who are more desperate to get to the other side… take the advice of other expert anglers:
Aspiring Fly Fishing Blog and News
New Zealand is world renowned for it’s stunning rivers/streams and of course it’s fly fishing. In most cases to be successful when fly fishing here wading is required to get to the best sections of water.
High colored water….Do you know how deep it is ? How soft the bottom is ? How fast is the water flowing ? If I fall over can I safely get out ? All these things should be taken into consideration before entering the water. During the frenzied fight you often tend to forget all of these things as you try to keep up with a fish that is peeling line off the fly reel at a fast rate of knots ! And before you know it you can be in serious trouble. Below are a few tips on keeping safe in water. .
A few wading tips for anglers fly fishing in NZ’s Back-country rivers .
- Visually mark out your entry and exit point before entering the water. Think about what you will do if you lose your footing and fall in. If you plan out where you are going and study the current in the river, this will make a safe crossing much easier. Remember river and stream flows can change unexpectedly, especially early season due to snow melt ,with some rivers coming up dramatically during the day.
- Once you’ve decided the best place to cross, the general rule is to angle yourself down stream, allowing the current to gently push you along, but being careful it doesn’t take control of you. Move slowly don’t fight the current, take it on your side, or even face up stream but never never turn your back to river. Allow the current to help you gradually make your way towards the other bank.
- Wear a wading belt at all times. Wading belts are not perfect at preventing water from filling up your waders if you go under, but they are far better than not having one .Make sure your waders fit and are comfortable and don’t restrict movement.
- A good pair of wading boots are equally as important as the waders. Many of the newer styles have the sticky Vibram soles with studs attached these are great for river bottoms with algae covered stones, the Mataura river in Southland is one such river that these boots are definitely needed.
- Use a wading staff or stick. Not only will these help with stability in stronger currents or on slippery bouldery bottoms they also act as a probe for feeling the bottom out if the water is discolored and your not sure of the water depth ahead of you.
- Wade within your comfort zone.If your not sure or feeling unsafe simply don’t do it, stay on the rivers edge or bank and fish from there.
- Take tiny steps, shuffle your feet across the bottom of the river, as soon as you lift your leg the current will take hold of it and push it from under you. Once this happens you will lose your balance and begin stumbling…. most likely going under. Look for gravelly sections of river bottom between the bigger boulders and stones. Slide your feet into position and work them in between the rocks and stones, rather than standing directly on top of them where they may roll causing you to tumble over.
- Turn onto your back if you do manage too get knocked or swept over and try to get your feet facing down stream as quickly as possible. This will help prevent any collisions with your head and any obstacles that might be in the river. The water will most likely be fairly cold so you want to get to the bank as quickly as possibly. Pick an exit point on the closest bank and carefully paddle towards .
- Linking arms with your fishing buddies or guide is another great method. Put the larger built person above so they act as an anchor. Again move slowly with the current letting it gently push you along.
- On a final note if you don’t need to wade …DON’T !! Don’t take unnecessary risks … is it really worth it ?
Feel free to contact me with any questions you have or to start planning your 2015/16 fly fishing New Zealand adventure
I look forward to hearing from you soon.
Wading Basics and Tips
We all love to be out on the river catching fish. That’s a part of the lure of fly fishing is being out wading through our favorite streams in search of the illusive trout (or other species). One of the key ingredients here is being able to access the areas of a river or stream to effectively cover the water and just plain get to the locations where these fish are. How do you do that? Wading. That doesn’t come without the need for a little knowledge in wading basics and tips on how to be safe on the water. Let me share a few wading basics and tips to help you get out and get back home.
Wading Basics and Tips – The List
Use a wading staff. You may not feel the need to use one, but if you want a little extra comfort and stability when wading through those rapids, grab yourself a wading staff. You’ll be safer, can judge water depth better, and access places with less of a chance of swimming by using a wading staff. They work, especially when wading murky or stained waters.
Know your wading limits. Each angler is different and his/her comfort level in a stream can vary greatly. The deeper the water, the more buoyant you become and wading becomes more difficult. I’ve known anglers that don’t go much past their thighs and other anglers that are chin-deep in the water. It all comes down to comfort. Learn your limits and stop before you go too far.
Plan your route through a river. Rivers and streams change constantly. You can wade much better and safer by planning where you are going through the river. I’ve had times in the past where I was too caught up in actually fishing that I ended up surrounded on three sides by some very deep and unwadable pools. I wasn’t paying attention and had no plan. Look for hazards and other obstacles that may impede your wading and plan accordingly. Think about what you will do if you lose your footing and get swept away. If you plan out where you are going and study the current in the river, you can make a safe crossing in no time at all.
Keep your body sideways to the current. This will decrease the force of the water pushing against you. Facing directly upstream or downstream against the current puts the full force of that current against you. This makes wading considerably harder and much more difficult to keep your balance.
Don’t wade if you don’t need to. Many times you can reach those fishy spots in a river without wading. You don’t always need to enter the water to fish. By not wading if you don’t need to, the fish are much less likely to spook. This is especially true in slower moving pools.
Lean into the current. The current in a river is constantly pushing against you. By leaning into it, the current will naturally push you upright rather than downstream.
Leave your tackle in an emergency. In the worst scenario, you lose your footing and go for a swim. If this happens, your life is far more important than the gear you’re desperately holding on to. Abandon it and save yourself. Gear can always be replaced and having the use of both of your hands will make any sort of rescue far easier.
Be prepared for an emergency situation. Basically this means to prepare yourself for an emergency situation and learn how to self-rescue. Learn basic water safety in the event you get swept off your feet. Turn onto your back and point your feet downstream to prevent any collisions with more sensitive parts of your upper body. Position yourself at a 45 degree angle to the current and begin to swim/stroke towards the nearest bank. Rivers and streams are typically very cold so get out of there as fast as possible.
Use a wading belt and take appropriate safety precautions. Wading belts are not perfect in preventing water from filling up your waders if you go under, but they are far better than not having one. Think of a wading belt as a seatbelt. Cinch it up as tight and as high up on your chest as is comfortable.
Shuffle your feet. Instead of lifting your feet each time you take a step, try shuffling them across the bottom of the river. Each time you lift your leg the current will try to push that leg out from under you. It’s very easy to have your leg swept out and down you go. By keeping your feet in contact with stream bottom you greatly reduce your risk of this happening.