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The year of the cicada.
Make the most of it.
Its cicada time.

The year of the cicada.
Sat 25th February, 2017

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Well guys... 2017 is definitely turning out to be the year of the cicada on the Tongariro. They first appeared around the second week of December last year but that early emergence soon fizzled out when the weather turned unseasonably cool and unsettled.
Summer briefly returned at the beginning of February and this time huge numbers appeared overnight.

Again the weather changed and to be honest I thought that was it for this year. But the recent combination of warm sunny days and scattered showers has triggered another big emergence particularly along the middle and upper river.

I was up there again mid-week and there were fresh husks everywhere. In parts the undergrowth was almost dripping with cicadas and the racket was incredible.

This latest flush of these big terrestrials should prolong the top water sport we sometimes enjoy during good "cicada years".

I spent the whole day Wednesday on the TRB between Boulder Reach and Boulder Pool and didn't see a soul on that side of the river.

There's some great water along this stretch and its even better when you have it all to yourself.

By mid-morning I'd fished my way up to the Fan Pool. The Fan and the Cliff Pool are two places that seem to change year on year. At present they've both become a lot more "user friendly" and with easy wading and plenty of casting room its not difficult to reach the likely lies.

On the way up I'd already had a few rainbows. Mostly on the indicator, although the dry and dropper had produced some juveniles from the riffles.

As soon as I got there I could see fish lying deep along the seam, about mid-way up the pool. Out went a couple of nymphs under the yarn and within a few casts it slid under half way through the drift. Over the next thirty minutes more followed ... not all of them making it to the bank!

There's a great run on the TLB in this stretch.

In the past it was a bit of a mission to reach it ... well maybe not so much to reach it. You could get at it ok but it involved a long cast and with so much line out mending was tricky.

By noon it had gone a bit quiet on the indicator. So happy that I'd thoroughly "fished my feet" I changed rods, waded out a little further and began casting to the run on the opposite bank.

The first take caught me completely by surprise and I ripped the big dry straight out of its mouth. But over the next hour hooked up another four times ... landing three, either on the dry or one of the dropper nymphs.

When you mention the dry and dropper many anglers assume you're referring to a summer rig comprising of a dry with another nymph suspended around 18 inches below it.

Absolutely nothing wrong with that.

But the "long dry and dropper" is a much more versatile and effective all year round rig on the Tongariro.

I'm not going to re-hash it all again. But you can see in the pic above {taken yesterday in Judges} how far the indicator dry is from the fish.

The river has fished consistently well since the last report. But despite one or two of the town pools producing some none to shabby fish I'd still try the middle/upper river.

Best flies for me this week ... caddis, caddis emergers, buzzers and small flash back flies.

I've hooked a few more browns but that was as close as they got to the bank.

It looks like a settled spell of weather as we head towards March, with light winds and no heavy rain forecast until next week. There are so many cicadas around you'd be crazy not to try a cicada imitation ... and with a nymph or two below it you're bound to score.

See you out there

Tight lines

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Really do love your River Talk column and await every new version with some anticipation. Very informative and free with information and advice which I try to replicate as much as I can. Have met you a couple of times on the river( with pooch ) and look forward to our next encounter. Keep the information flowing.

Ken Collier
Mon 27th February, 2017 |
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