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Summer mode already.
Plenty of fish in the river...Judges update.
Small nymphs still working well.
Low and Clear.

Summer mode already.
Sat 27th October, 2018

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A very different "feel" to the river this week. With the holiday over and other venues open there are noticeably less anglers on the Tongariro. On weekdays I've seen more canoeists than fishermen and the unseasonably warm weather we've enjoyed since the last report makes it seem as if the river has already switched to "summer" mode.

With fewer anglers, lighter mornings and longer days, a day out on the Tongariro is a much more relaxed affair from now on.

During the winter runs anglers armed with bombs and globugs descend on the area and you have to set the alarm pretty early if you want to get into your favourite possie first.

But when the runs have fizzled out a lot of anglers prefer to fish elsewhere in the warmer months.

That "urgency" and desire to get to the river first is removed and you'll often have whole stretches to yourself in summer ... no matter what time you turn up.

I've made Judges my first port of call again this week and had the place to myself every time. Despite it being no secret that its been fishing quite well. I needed to really get a handle on the changes here and with no other anglers to have to consider I was able to fish where I liked and try a few things.

Fishing is one big learning curve and I've gained a lot of useful knowledge there this week which will hopefully come in handy in the future.

But Judges isn't the only place throwing up some reasonable fish amid the kelts.

I've had a couple of fun afternoons further upriver, although I have to say the fishing does seem a little more patchy ... depending where you go.

This hen was probably my best fish this week, and one of several that picked up the little brown bug I'm always on about. All of them came from the same shallow stretch thats ideally suited for nymphing with the dry as an indicator. And although the river is still low and clear I didn't spot one of them in amongst the rocks. Something that often happens whenever I fish this run.

I should have gone to Specsavers!

There's been some noteworthy changes in this part of the river, particularly over the last year.

If you regularly fish "The Fan" from the TRB you'll have spotted the very fishy looking water thats been forming on the opposite bank ... just above the head of the pool.

Before the top of this stretch altered you used to be able to get at that fishy water by standing in the fast stuff that tumbles into the pool. But its become too quick and slippery to attempt this nowadays.

I've been fishing it from the TLB for months now and I've hooked up almost every time.

Unfortunately hooking them is the easy part ... landing them is another thing altogether.

There's some "big water" here thats fairly quick, close in. Its also quite deep with changing surface currents which makes for tricky mending. Especially when you cast out a little further toward the seam. But if you get it right that indicator will dive under and the fun will begin ... or not ... depending how important it is for you to actually land the fish. Despite taking my time playing them on the 8wt, out of five hooked there yesterday I lost every one of them.

Wet-lining would probably be the answer ... but I don't enjoy it.

Another sure sign that summer is almost upon us is the appearance of Scotch broom. You don't realise how much of this troublesome weed is around until the bright yellow flowers explode along the tracks and banks of the Tongariro in late Spring.

It causes huge problems for the farming and forestry industries in New Zealand because its such a prolific "seeder."

The numbers are incredible. For instance research carried out by Massey University indicate that in some of our pine forests there can be as many as thirty six thousand seeds per square metre of soil.

Its almost impossible to eradicate and once established "crowds out" native plants.

Many experts agree it could eventually transform this country's landscape with swathes of yellow covering the countryside in years to come.

So, the river is still "fishing." And with less angling pressure, particularly during the week, its a very pleasant time to be on the Tongariro. Its a totally different experience fishing the river in summer and personally I prefer it.
The first of this years browns are already beginning to show up. And from now until their numbers peak around May you never know when you'll encounter one of these impressive fish ... unless you deliberately target them.

Another summer phenomenon is the appearance of pods of silver sardines and there'll be plenty of these feisty little guys around in the months ahead. They love runs and riffles and if you're fishing this type of water with small nymphs look out!

All nymphing methods are taking fish and I've been doing ok with small flash-backs, light coloured caddis and buzzers.

Things should keep ticking over nicely with the rain and showers forecast until next weekend ... that's if we get it of course.

Oh!...before I forget. Remember that snag in my favourite town pool I mentioned last time. Well, my boots got caught up on it again. But this time I managed to lift it up enough to cut most of the lost flies and leader away. There was even a Skagit head down there. With levels even lower this time, I ended up finding another two smaller snarl -ups further out, and cut those away as well. Unfortunately the tree root and branches are still down there so they'll probably continue relieving anglers of their tackle until the next big fresh dumps them somewhere else.

Tight lines guys

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