Local Fishing Reports by Rob Henderson –
Fishing Guide for Riverstone Backpackers (Pinched [& edited?] from their website)
Fighting Big Fat Wanganui Rainbows
Extreme Heat & Fast Fishing
A recent trip shows that there will be some big Wanganui Rainbows to be caught throughout the remainder of the summer. As the day heated up to what would have been about 30 degrees in the valley the fish really came on the bite, and at one stage about every third cast was getting nailed. Most fish were between 3-4lb but there was a few that were between 4-6lb, which is considerably better than I have seen for the past couple of years at a similar time of the year. With an obvious abundance of food available they can only get fatter over the next few months.
Although the fishing was running hot at times a thoughtful and careful approach was still necessary. The fish were concentrated in the faster water and often in places where they were unlikely to have been harassed by other anglers.
If you haven’t fished the Wanganui River before and are looking for a fly fishing guide to get onto some of these big Wanganui Rainbows, the next few months will present a good opportunity to get into these large hard fighting fish.
LAKE ROTOITI & LAKE OKATAINA
Lake Rotoiti Harling
End of Season Early Morning Action
Toward the end of the June Lake Okataina and Lake Rotoiti harling can produce very large high quality Rainbow trout, so before these lakes close to boat fishing some hot fishing can be expected. These are hatchery fish selectively bred for fast growth and then released back into the wild. In autumn when the temperature drops they congregate near release points and become easier for anglers to target.
This year I was lucky enough to fit in one two day trip to Lake Okataina with Mark and John and two day trips on Lake Rotoiti harling with Steve. On Lake Okataina – a lake I have fished often and believe I know well – we found the fishing fairly hard, with only a couple of fish landed, the best of which is the coloured up Jack you can see in the images below.
Both days on Lake Rotoiti harling dawned fairly calm with the wind getting up during the day, though never enough that we couldn’t find somewhere relatively calm to jig as the shallow water fishing slowed during the day. The fishing was impressive, with about a dozen fish hooked or landed ranging from 5lb to the 9.3lb hen taken by Captain Steve on dusk. The best fishing was in very shallow water at change of light. Harling is a very
This trip report couldn’t go by without some mention of Steve’s boat, a Haines Signature 485sf with a Minn Koda electric motor – perfect for trout jigging and inshore salt water fly fishing around the harbours of the upper North Island. The potential for an electric motor with GPS to fix you over a position and keep you there is a potential game changer for jigging. Its a quality meticulously planned setup which really deserved some better boat images, so that I guess will require another adventure when the season opens in October.
Tongariro Spawning Runs Well Underway
Fish are spread throughout the river and with back to back fronts and heavy rain once more rolling across the Central Plateau its likely the quality fishing will continue. Each drop of the barometer brings another run, though fish can often move fast and can be easily missed. Time on the water looking for these schools is eventually rewarded, though over the next couple of months fish will tend to build up and hold more than they have earlier in the season.
Over the past few years September and October have been the best months for the winter runs, so perhaps the best fishing is still to come. Then again people who have fished a lot this season are saying there have been more earlier runs than recent years. Personally I am betting on the next couple of months being sensational.
Many anglers disappear from the Taupo tributaries at this time of year as back country waters open and with the warmer weather other activities compete for our leisure time. That will be great as at times this season the fish have been so plentiful that the greater challenge to success has been avoiding other anglers!
Small Stream Afternoon Rewards
Being First On The Water Is Not Always Important
Often being first through the water is especially import if you are chasing fresh run rainbows in winter. This means early starts, sometimes frozen rods guides and the need for a hot drink by mid morning to thaw out! While this effort is usually worth it, sometimes – particularly in high water conditions – its not necessary and can even be counterproductive; because as as the day progresses, the water levels drop and the sun comes out the visibility of the fish and you catch rate can often improve.
The Lake Taupo catchment is blessed with a number of smaller streams, which seem to remain a mystery to many… too many snags, limited access, no back-cast etc are often the usual excuses. That’s a pity as there really is very little mystery to fishing these streams and nothing to fear. What is needed is a sense of exploration to find good water and access and an ability to understand water levels and time your expeditions accordingly.
Hinemaiaia Runs Slowing
Trout Spawning in Shallows
The Hinemaiaia Stream at Hatepe Village has a well deserved reputation for being one of the better early season rivers for fresh run rainbow trout. Especially in recent years this has meant insane amounts of anglers trying to fit into limited space, such that avoiding other anglers becomes more important to your success than finding and deceiving a few trout!
Having said this though it seems like being first on the water although often very helpful, is not perhaps as vital as some rivers because in low barometer conditions the fish sometimes seem to keep moving through during the day. A pool or run that may have been empty earlier can often have fresh undisturbed fish later in the day.
The fishing hasn’t been too bad
by Mike Hughes