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Still summer in Turangi.
After the fresh.
Spate conditions.
Lost phone.

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Spate conditions.
Sun 12th March, 2017


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Overcast again this morning with a little bit of a "northwester" picking up. River levels have been up and down since Friday nights downpours and that will continue until the unsettled weather begins to clear some time tomorrow.

The flow graph peaked at around 80 cumecs but the river is currently hovering around the fifty mark and although it retains that milky brown color is very fishable at present. With more rain forecast this will probably alter later today.

A lot of anglers won't fish in these conditions.

I can understand why ... fly fishing in murky water doesn't do much for the soul ... but you could be missing out. After all the fish are still there ... they're just in different places.

During spate conditions trout seek water away from the strengthening flows.

As levels rise they will move into the shallower side channels and backwaters and these spots are now well worth trying. Obviously there comes a time when a fresh becomes a full blown flood and its impractical and dangerous to continue fishing. But I'll usually give it until around eighty cumecs depending where I happen to be at the time.

In the main river fish will be close to the sides, particularly where there is anything that protects them from the force of the current. The irregular shape of the bank may allow small bays and back eddies to form, but behind rocks, logs, even submerged vegetation are all places to look for trout.

Low lying river bank adjacent to the river is now covered in a couple of feet of murky water allowing the fish access to all kinds of terrestrial insects they normally can't get at. There's no need to wade right out in these places. In fact any sort of wading when you can't see the bottom isn't a good idea. Trout will be patrolling these newly submerged areas mopping up drowned bugs and can be almost under your feet. With care you can get incredibly close to fish when its like this.

If for instance you've never caught a brown, now is a great time to target them. Prior to this fresh it had been a good week for browns and all the well known hot spots were producing, especially around town and the middle river.

No need for long leaders, fluffy indicators and heavy bombs now either.

In these sheltered spots away from the main flow any sediment being carried downriver will quickly drop to the bottom. Trout don't like this silt, so they'll tend to be found higher in the water column. Its not unusual to see fish taking bugs at the surface in these slow moving flooded areas ... big dry and dropper time!

Because of the colored water you can even increase line breaking strain a little if you want to which will give you a bit of insurance should you hook a good fish and it manages to get out into the main current.

Experiment with fly size and color but I generally go bigger and darker.

If your fishing in close in the main river, short line nymphing techniques are invaluable when its like this. Allowing you to easily maneuver your nymphs into likely spots along the rivers edge.

One thing to bear in mind when your fishing back eddies is that the trout may not always be facing upstream.

The perfect place to see this is the look-out above Admirals.

Fish lying in this pool will often appear to be facing at right angles or even almost downstream to the rivers perceived flow at the surface.

But below the surface, conditions are very different.

The "hydraulics" are doing strange things.

Despite the fish looking as if they're pointing "the "wrong way"... in that particular spot in the pool they are still facing into the current as the flow swirls around.

The day before the heavens opened I stood above this very pool watching a few browns exhibiting some of this behavior on my way upriver.

There have also been some half tidy rainbows caught since the last report. And up until Thursday I was still taking a few on the black cicada as well as nymphing the deeper water with mayfly patterns.

I rarely eat trout but friends that do have told me some of the hens they've caught have been fat with mature eggs. This would suggest there may be some sort of early autumn run taking place.

As I wrap up this report the skies have darkened again and its hammering down. Expect the flows to fluctuate almost hourly until late tomorrow but by Tuesday things should have settled back.


This latest fresh will encourage some further movement of fish with more browns and possibly some better rainbows moving up. The Hydro and Cicada pools have been fishing well for both.

Tight lines

Mike


Update

Monday 13th March 6.00 am

The Tongariro flow graph peaked at 233cumecs but is gradually falling back.
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