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A little bit of a slow down but ...
Tongariro fires after the fresh.
Another good July fresh.
Cold ... but a good week.
New Season

Another good July fresh.
Fri 21st July, 2017

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The wind and rain forecast for Central North Island arrived yesterday and continued all day and most of the night before easing to showers. Flows increased steadily and peaked in the wee hours at 367 cumecs. They dropped back briefly to 281 cumecs but when these shots were taken they were on the rise again registering over three hundred.
Met Service has issued the following:

"A large complex low pressure system is expected to move slowly east over central New Zealand during Friday and Saturday. An associated front crosses the North Island, bringing a period of severe gale northeasterlies and a burst of heavy rain to northeastern parts of the Island. The strongest winds are expected in Bay of Plenty and Gisborne where northeast gusts could reach 120 km/h in exposed places until midnight Thursday. Heavy rain is expected in Bay of Plenty and Rotorua until early Friday morning."

The wind has currently eased but driving down Grace Road earlier this morning there were a few downed branches littering the road.

We often get these significant "freshes" in July particularly if the weather systems come from a northerly direction. They usually have a positive affect on the fishing and I don't expect it to be any different this time. Once levels fall back the Tongariro should fire as more fish will have run through. Some of the fish that entered the river a lot earlier in the year will have been shifted around as well. So there should be be a nice mixture of hungry kelts and fit "chromers" to keep anglers happy.

Before this flood river flows had been up and down for most of the week, peaking at forty plus on Tuesday. This put some color in the river and encouraged more fish to move through. Once they got past the Bridge Pool they weren't hanging around though. Judges for instance remains unpredictable and they seem to be moving through the town pools pretty quickly.

This may may change after this latest storm.

If you're lucky and get into Major Jones before anyone else there have been some nice fish there. But its always popular with wet liners and I find its sometimes better to wait until later in the day before I give it a try.

If you've stuck to nymphing I'm sure you'll have noticed that you're getting more fish than usual on the bomb. This is a common occurrence at this time of year particularly when there's a mixture of hungry kelts and "green" freshies in the river. I can only assume that to them {for a little while at least} big is best.

The olive/green detached body bombs I mentioned last week have been working and I've already stocked up with a few more.

Good reports from the lower river as well. But a friend of mine was "johnny on the spot" on the upper river and had a ball when a large pod went through above the Poutu.

With the school holidays in full swing there are plenty of anglers in town. Last Saturday for instance was crazy and most of the well known spots were occupied.

I pulled up briefly in the small car park at Boulder Reach and there were six trucks there!

The other thing you're bound to have noticed are the numbers of birds working the river. This isn't a particularly good shot but there were swallows as far as the eye could see and as I mentioned last time they're probably feeding on emerging midges.

Midge is a non-specific name which includes many species of small flies. Of particular interest to anglers are the chironomids {non-biting midges} found all over the world.

The emerging pupa is called a buzzer, probably a reference to the sound made by the adults once they form mating swarms.

In the UK "buzzer fishing" on lakes and reservoirs is hugely popular but they will also take fish in rivers. At times they can be very effective on the Tongariro.

They're easy to tie and a lot of fun. But the important thing to remember when tying buzzers is to keep the "skinny" profile and not to overdress them. An adult midge is quite a delicate looking bug and so is the emerging pupa. If you need some ideas Google images is always a good place to start.

The larval stage often called a blood worm is the one most anglers are familiar with and this one can be imitated with a bare red hook ... you can't get more skinny than that.

I've read some amusing accounts in fly fishing articles of tackle shop staff advising anglers who fish blood worms to try undressed red hooks. Understandably most of their customers weren't convinced and they hardly sold any. So one enterprising American shop owner wrapped a couple of turns of peacock herl behind the eye ... and {excuse the pun} they flew out the door.

I can't stand the taste of trout but friends tell me when gutting fish they've occasionally found blood worms in their stomachs'. We've all come across midge activity on the river so it stands to reason there must be midge larvae. The reason we don't encounter them more often is because some prefer to live in in silt or mud, safe from most predators ... and of course their size. However there is evidence from those observing the interaction between trout and midge larvae in UK stillwaters that trout will actually grub around in the soft mud seeking out these tiny morsels. I don't think this behavior would necessarily apply to Tongariro trout, in order to do this a trout would have to slightly angle itself with the head down and tail up. In this position they'd use up valuable energy because more of their bodies would be exposed to the current. I've never observed trout doing this in any river I've fished ... so the jury's out on that.

Most modern buzzer patterns which imitate the ascending pupa stage involve the use of UV resin so they cut through the water and sink like little nails. They're usually tied in sizes 16 to 12 although you can go a couple of sizes either way if you need to. I often switch to buzzers when bites dry up on the little brown bug.

My own preference is to fish them under the dry. But I know Tongariro anglers who use them successfully on tied off the bomb ... so worth a try.

I started with the Braids so we'll finish this report with it as well. Despite the whole area looking like an abandoned gravel pit since they diverted the Tongariro here several years ago. It finally broke through properly last year at the bottom end of the lower Bridge Pool. It doesn't follow exactly the same route as it used to in the glory days. But with every passing fresh the new channels get deeper and the river is less likely to dry up again when levels fall. The "Stones" stretch is beginning to resemble its old self and flows have steadily increased here over the last year. It will take a little time for the river to "see off" some of the lupin and other weeds that tried to reclaim the river bed. But already fish are starting to use this stretch again ... so with a couple more floods ... who knows.

The Met Service were spot on this time ..but they don't always get it right.

Cast your mind back a week.

This was SH1 heading south towards the upper river at the height of the worst winter weather country wide for years!

It was cold and we were cut off for a time because of road closures all around us. But while the rest of New Zealand struggled in the polar blast we only had one brief snow shower and it was business as usual in Turangi.

More rain and heavy showers to come but an improving picture as we head towards the weekend.The flows are currently hovering around two fifty but they should drop quickly once the rain stops. Keep an eye on them because they will fluctuate as things return to normal.

Once the river is fishable again we can look forward to some excellent fishing but there'll be plenty of anglers around and July is a favorite month for club events.

Enjoy...tight lines

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