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A river to yourself ...
Blue Pool access track now closed.
Holiday weekend ... but plenty of room.
More rain and fish to come.

A river to yourself ...
Thu 26th October, 2017

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Another pretty quiet few days on the river as everything gradually slips into summer mode.

Now that the big winter runs are over on the Tongariro a lot of anglers prefer other venues. Some days its as if you have the place to yourself and with less anglers there's a much more relaxed vibe on the river so you can just take your time and enjoy the day.

At the start of the week when I pulled into Red Hut car park {at the crack of nine o clock} it was empty. And as I fished my way up I never saw a soul until I reached the Fan Pool.

By the time I got up there Norman was fishing the head and had already caught a couple when I joined him.

The tail of the pool was littered with patches of freshly excavated gravel. And there were a couple of dozen spawning rainbows clearly visible on the redds. But there's a nice seam a bit further out here and it wasn't long before we both hooked up again.

Its the same story in most of the upper river pools and just around the corner the Cliff also had its fair share of spawning fish just a meter or so from the bank. I try and leave these guys to get on with things and again by fishing further out landed a couple there before I moved on.

All along the river and surrounding countryside the air is thick with the sickly vanilla smell of broom.

Its funny because its not until this weed begins to flower in Spring that you realise just how much of it there is out there. It thrives anywhere there is low canopy and because it's such a prolific "seeder" very quickly becomes the dominant plant once it takes hold.

This from Landcare Research

"Broom is unpalatable to livestock, so dense infestations on New Zealand farmland are reducing stock carrying capacity. With its rapid growth it is smothering new tree plantings for forestry. The economic impact of broom to the forestry and farming sectors has been conservatively estimated at $100m per year in lost productivity and control costs. The weed is spreading alarmingly on marginal productive land where conventional control through spraying is not cost-effective.

High-priority New Zealand conservation land is affected by broom as it out-competes threatened native plants. The weed is also invading braided riverbeds where it is destroying the open habitats for rare endemic birds and is providing cover for their introduced predators.

With mature plants producing up to 30,000 seeds per square metre, and a massive seed bank that can survive in soil for decades, the problem will only get worse. Broom currently occupies only about 20% of its potential range in this country and it can exist above the bushline. Our iconic tourism images of native bush-clad hillsides could be transformed in years to come."
I've been spending a lot of my time on the upper reaches for a while now. The town pools tend to be a bit slow at this time of year because the majority of fish are further upriver. This will change over the coming months as post spawning fish make the return journey ... feeding up as they go to regain condition lost during spawning.
Although most of the rainbows encountered now may well be recovering fish some of them fight like tigers. And the hen pictured above jumped at least eight times before I landed it in Judges this morning.

The fishing is still very patchy there but you can usually wheedle something out with a change of tack.

It generally pays now to lighten everything up particularly while the flows are continuing tp drop below thirty and the water is becoming clearer by the day.

Thinner tippet and smaller flies will usually do the trick. And when I have to go down a size or two I also prefer to use a smaller knot.

The smallest, is one I know only as the secret knot.

Its a great way of attaching small nymphs and dries ...although I have to admit when it was first shown to me well over thirty years ago I had my concerns about its reliability. I needn't have worried because since then I've never lost a fish because this knot has failed. But if you are worried about it slipping, simply flatten the small tag with your teeth for some extra insurance.

Its on the site already so if you're interested scroll up to the top left-hand side of the page and open 2012 October.

There's all sorts of caddis in the Tongariro and I've been messing around at the vice for a few weeks trying to come up with a horn caddis pattern that I'm happy with. Well at last I've tied one up that both myself and the fish like and it worked well when I tried it out at the start of the week.
But there's also plenty of Mayfly and the duns are keeping the birds busy most days. It won't be that long before we'll be digging out the headlamps again for the evening rise.

We get some unusual cloud formations here in New Zealand and I took this shot one afternoon in Boulder Reach.

They've promised a more summery feel to the weather for most of next week which should keep the fish looking up. It'll be good if we get it because at the moment its cold and wet again.

Tight lines guys

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