(Bjorn Hovrud from Norway with another decent Tongariro brown trout)
This has been a difficult summer for Tongariro fly fishos. The fishing has been as erratic as the weather – see map below. We all know about the extreme weather patterns with three floods so far which did not help. Particularly the BIG 700+ cumec flood in early January rolled over all the pebbles and stones in the river bed to scrape them clean.
This was a mixed blessing and provided much improved wading conditions as it removed all the slime. But that also removed all the caddis etc. aka trout food. In addition the river has maintained a higher flow since January at usually well over 30 cumecs which makes for more difficult access conditions. All those little runs that anglers got to know over the last few seasons were swept away and everyone was starting all over again, having to read the water to rediscover trout lies, but the river flow has remained too high to identify new spots – yet…
(Images of Tongariro anglers access swing-bridges from TRM library)
So all this results in cautious anglers booking in with an open booking-out date depending on the fishing. In these conditions we often get a run of extremes in feedback from inmates as follows:
Last week one such American visitor (Gerard from Unit 6) returning to TRM booked for two nights but suggested he might stay for two more – delaying his trip south – if the fishing was good?. After Saturday he was quite despondent when he reported only seeing one trout and the few anglers he met reported only one being landed. Another English angler (Alistair from Unit 9) also ‘skunked’ on Saturday and Sunday but it was his first time fishing such a big river so that was not surprising. What difficult conditions?
As soon as Gerard left reception another quietly excited angler (Unit 2 – Bjorn from Norway) whispered to me he counted over 30 BIG Brown trout in one stretch which included a couple of monsters. He returned battered and bruised and scratched by blackberry as few anglers would be ambitious enough to explore such a difficult part of the river. He was very restrained and selective, only casting at the big hogs where he had a slim chance of a good ‘presentation’ as most were hiding under snags, etc.. He lost two big beasts – they were just too powerful!
Bjorn is here for over a month. He has also stayed at TRM before – that is his image above from his last visit – he has landed big browns over 20 pounds in Argentina etc. – so is not prone to wild exaggeration. He had sent me several emails before he came to make sure I would arrange for the cicadas to be swarming for his visit.? Sadly they have mainly stayed in the ground so we had to make sure he found some big browns to compensate.
Anglers will understand that I could not send Unit 6 angler Gerard to the same spot as it might spoil Bjorn’s weeks ahead. But I doubt if he would have had sufficient endurance anyway. On the Tongariro we have our own Ironman course.
Then on Sunday the American angler’s “luck” (?) improved up-river when he landed two Rainbows, so we managed to convince him to stay on for two more nights. The usual tactics by desperate motels, when faced with inmates indecision, is to become instant fishing experts. SWMBO usually advises them how much better the fishing will be on Monday with less pressure after the weekend anglers go home. It usually works.
(She Who Must Be Obeyed manages everything else at TRM so well but is just guessing about the fishing conditions based on what She sees when inmates return from fishing.)
Fortunately on Monday the American angler landed five more and reports he had a great day. Whew! Just as well as TRM have a reputation to maintain.
So why the improvement from Saturday? The conditions were much the same – fine and warm with no wind, so perhaps he was just improving his presentation technique and adjusting his rig for the power of the Tongariro by adding more weight to trawl the bottom?.
SWMBO’s clear message here is that to be successful, anglers must book for a minimum of four days…
As soon as I completed the last sentence Bjorn popped in to admit yesterday he got skunked. He sure knows how to spoil a good story. I asked him not to tell anyone as it would spoil TRM’s report…
Gary Broome & Neil Hawes from Hawkes Bay with last night’s results – a huge Rainbow and Brown trout. I am not sure who caught which and they lost a few as well. The trout are in superb condition.
2017-18: A Kiwi summer for the record books🌡️
This summer has officially gone down as New Zealand’s hottest on record. The nationwide average temperature was 18.8°C or 2.1°C above the 1981-2010 summer average — this surpassed the sweltering summer of 1934-35.
In the last 109 years, only 2017-18 and 1934-35 managed to reach as much as 1.25°C above the summer average…