Congratulations JimTim – he is a teacher enjoying his school holiday from Orewa High School north of Auckland. For about the last 15 years he has been determined to catch a legendary Tongariro brown trout. Yesterday he finally achieved his dream. Below TRM show some of the photos of his long “journey”.
What is so special about brown trout? Every season TRM have anglers seeking brown trout. Their usual timing tactic is during the late summer when they give themselves away when they rise to the surface and can more easily be fooled into taking a big dry fly. Even so, some anglers have never caught one. Perhaps, that may be the attraction? According to DOC trap analysis, the brown trout population is about 5% (?). Some TRM inmates question that. Mind you, some inmates question everything – even these reports! They are so perceptive…
The DOC fish trap for the Tongariro River is located up a tributary far up the Tongariro above the winter limit. Therefore the inquisitve questioning anglers imagine that most browns spawn much lower down in the grubby conditions of the lower river or in other tributaries. i.e. The Mangamawhitiwhiti River flowing into the Hydro Pool is reported (not sure by who?) to only support a brown trout population. DOC’s own survey (they attached aerials to the trout) confirmed the trout take on average about a month to travel from the delta to the winter limit. The trap is almost that far further up river. Therefore the trap results, if they get reported, are of trout that may have entered the river on their spawning run about two months earlier. Anglers understand this is nature’s plan to give us plenty of time to ambush them on their way up river.
For those targeting brown trout in particular, we usually point them to the lower Bridge Pool, Island Pool, Hydro Pool or lower Major Jones pools at night. Usually, they are found in the slower lazy meandering flow rather than in the bubble line or seam of the current. Their sneaky spawning habits are quite different to Rainbow stock.
Why are brown trout so sought after? Because there are fewer of them? Probably because they definitely grow much bigger than Rainbows? They do seem to be more cunning and are harder to catch. They often use the strong river current to advantage. Some shake their heads and fight like a wet sack while others – usually BIG jacks – can be very spectacular. Their sheer power has to be experienced to understand. Often it is a miracle the big jacks are landed at all as they could break a trace so easily.
After about 15 years of trying, JimTim was quite elated to land one from the quiet water in Major Jones Pool above. It fought like a typical brown. Nothing flashy, no jumps of splashy stuff, just a hard solid struggle as the fish tried to use the current to out-muscle and wrestle the
The other TRM library images are of Jim Tim catching Rainbows since 2006 in the Tongariro, Wanganui, Mohaka, etc. So after that long it is a relief to see him finally land his first brown trout. For us, in our role as motel minders, it is a thrill to see so many other nervous novices develop and mature to anjoy and appreciate this strange sporting hobby recreation pursuit, whatever, in such a wonderful part of the country where we prefer to live in.
You might note JimTim’s lack of waders? This may have helped as often anglers cannot help themselves – waders encourage them to wade into or through the lie where the lazy brown trout are lurking. It is too tempting to wade in to try to cast to the far bank. The important message of FFF cannot be emphasised enough. Fish your feet first.
Brown trout appear to love any snags or obstacles – often tucked in beside or under logs in most unlikely places just to make it more challenging for anglers. Recently we reported spotting eight brown trout hiding just below the confluence of the Mangamawhitwhiti where a huge log was anchored. Four were wedged in above it and four below. Two were really huge but they were perfectly positioned where no normal legal fly – certainly not mine – could get to them. Anglers have to admire their cunning senses to outwit most anglers. Comparatively, Rainbows catch themselves. That may be why it took JimTim so long to catch his…