Every day someone asks SWMBO – “How’s the fishin’ ?” We realise that suggesting it is absolutely fantastic does not qualify for fly fishos explanation – SWMBO might be biased and anglers demand evidence! Some nervous West Island fishos are even worried the spawning runs might expire before they get here…
For TRM’s October update, we looked for some typical examples of ‘modal inmates’ to indicate what the fishing is like as the season has continued to be soooo good for soooo long. We could report many other similar TRM inmates’ catch experiences but then SWMBO imagines it might get boring… and that would never do
This season all Tongariro River anglers have been amazed and asking how much longer can it last?. The following is just one fisho’s experience… I have just loaded eight excellent quality trout from our freezer into an inmate’s chilly bin. So?
We will call him Bill. Bill has been staying at TRM since before we came here so has probably been fishing the Tongariro for at least 20 years. He understands the ever changing moods of the Tongariro flow and does not need to waste too much time on reconnaissance.
Bill prefers the lower river pools where the wading is easier. About seven years ago he found a spot down there and marked the water with an X and has returned there to Spot X ever since. So his report is mainly about just Spot X on the Tongariro.
During his five day visit Bill averaged eight trout hookups every day. He started fishing early – about 6.30 am – every morning and returned for another session late afternoon. At a guess that would average about 2-3 hours fishing time per session. Bill’s total over five days was over forty hook-ups – what he called “bent rod” experiences. From these he landed 27 and kept 8.
The average weight of trout would have been way north of the old four pound mark and probably closer five pound. Bill thought he lost bigger trout and while his heaviest was five and a quarter, it was the smaller 3-4 pound trout that gave him the hardest fights. It is difficult to assess the weight of his ‘keepers’ more accurately after their heads are removed.
We confess, Bill is one of those dreaded wet liners. During the last week the river has been running high. In fact it has not dropped below 30 cumecs to “normal” levels for about three months.
This is relevant as at higher flows the wet line anglers have more difficulty wading out deep to cast their woolly buggers and swing into the seam of the flow. As a result, we have discounted a few reports claiming the conditions were “hard” as they invariably come in from the dark side – wetliners – unable to change their technique to suit the conditions.
Recently, based on inmates’ results reported back to TRM, the nymphomaniacs have definitely been more successful than wet liners. This was confirmed by Kevin Neil with one of his trout from last weekend – he writes:
A few pics from the weekend.
I’ve been an inmate at TRM for a long time and even before that but the Spring fishing this season is something else. I think possibly best for years. The fish are in excellent condition and fight to the backing on the reel. Back in two weeks!
Then below is another account from Harvey Clark, image below, last Friday. As reported, he prefers real fly fishing – i.e. nymphing in the closest town pools from TRM so you do not have to walk or wade so far at all :
“Sight-fishing in the shallows on the Tongariro River can be very successful using a rod-length of leader, a large foam dry-fly as an indicator with two size 16 nymphs or wee-wets trailing only 12 to18 inches behind. The foam dry-fly won’t spook the fish like the big woollen indicators do. In the past two days my son and I hooked about 30 using this technique in fast water up to mid-calf deep. The nymphs were Prince and Pheasant Tail (one with a bead), and the wee-wet was a Red-tip Governor. Also landed a 4lb fresh jack on a rubber-legs caddis dry, which was very pleasing.”
So TRM can safely report to those cynical doubters out there (there are still some who imagine decent trout live in South Island hydro canals?) that even now in October in the soggy wet Spring weather, the famous Tongariro spawning runs continue as strongly as ever.
We repeat, this has been the best season we have seen here for about 20 years. You must not miss it under any circumstances. You owe it to yourself to get here asap. Work is so over-rated. Remember that any days spent here at TRM fishing the Tongariro are deducted from your life span so you will almost certainly leave here younger than when you arrived.