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Quick Update.
I've had easier weeks ...
Spring has sprung.

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I've had easier weeks ...
Fri 26th September, 2014


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Weather-wise we've had it all this week.

On Monday I was on the river in some of the most unpleasant conditions I've fished in for a while as another volatile front bringing icy cold winds and squally showers swept across New Zealand.

The rain fell as snow on higher ground and eventually caused the closure of the Desert Road but this should provide some great skiing for families venturing up to the slopes during the school holidays.

The last couple of days has seen a return to warm Spring sunshine and despite the fishing continuing to be as unpredictable as the weather it isn't putting anglers off ... at least it isn't when the sun is shining.

Luke and Erica from Colorado persevered in the wind and rain and landed six out of seven. Those fish might look nothing special to Tongariro regulars but everyone of them was a personal best rainbow for the visitors. Where they come from a twelve inch fish is considered a trophy ... how lucky are we !

Mind you I must admit I've had easier weeks on the river ... two days ago for instance I couldn't buy a trout. And yet earlier in the week there had been some reasonable rainbows around. But unless I'm missing something we still haven't had big numbers of fish running. It seems to be more a case of small pods of fish sneaking through, every so often.

This morning {Thursday} I hadn't intended to fish at all. But I had to take Blue for a walk anyway ... and it was such a lovely day ... well ... it would have been a shame not too. So I grabbed the the dry and dropper rod and chucked a few spare flies in an empty hook container and off we went.

I hadn't been to Judges for a while. In fact it was the first time I'd seen those nice new steps they've carved into the slope that leads down to the access track which comes out above the pool.

Judges isn't as good as it was but there were a few anglers in there so I decided to wade across to the small island above it. I wanted to have a look at the stretch on the TRB that I know as the "Willows".

This short stretch of water changes all the time, for a while it became a little too shallow and slow and wasn't really worth fishing. But at the moment it doesn't look too bad and it seems as if the fish are starting to use it again.

Its a perfect place for the dry and dropper and sure enough half-way through the second drift the indicator fly disappeared ... and I was into the first of the morning.

Its my go to method when presenting nymphs in shallow water. And although I use it all year round alongside the conventional indicator rig, its from now on that it really comes into its own.

As more and more fish finish spawning they make the transition from fresh runners to kelts.
In the U.S.A they call them "drop - backs " which is a great way of describing adult fish that have survived spawning and are making their way back to the lake.

I call them hungry and they tend to hit the flies hard. The takes are always positive ... sometimes too positive and in typical rainbow fashion that first burst of speed can catch you off guard. But once you overcome that some of them will tire fairly quickly.

They love riffles and runs where there's plenty of dissolved oxygen and this sort of water is also the habitat preferred by many of the aquatic insects that colonize the river bed. Combine this with the cover provided by the broken water and these places scream fish at you.

I used to see a lot of anglers walk past or worse still wade through these shallower spots, without even looking first. But things are changing and more anglers now make a point of fishing these places.

If you are nymphing the Tongariro with the indicator, especially the deeper or faster water here's another effective little pattern to include in the arsenal. Its called ... wait for it ... the Tungsten Death Metal Hare's Ear and is available in sizes 10 - 18. I started using them tied on 16's a couple of years ago and the bigger sizes make a useful medium weight bomb for summer fishing. Like the original its a good general purpose nymph and this version sinks well and stays down.

Right ... its getting late and Blue has had another hard day waiting for the big runs to start.

To sum up not a particularly easy week on the Tongariro and certainly not what the majority of anglers were hoping for. Small runs continue to trickle through but you have to be "Johnny on the spot" to find them.

Its turning out to be a difficult one to call this year and isn't at all what I was expecting. With October fast approaching time is running out so may be these irregular small runs will be the way of it this year ... but boy I'd love to be wrong.

The wind picked up again during the night and its already a lot cooler and cloudier than yesterday.

The outlook for the week ahead is for more fronts to cross the country later carrying rain and showers, with a predominantly north to north westerly air flow turning colder southerly for a time... see you out there.

Tight lines guys.

Mike

UPDATE

Saturday 27th September : Small pods of fish moving through the lower river late Saturday afternoon.
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