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More rafters than anglers ...
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A little tougher ...
A fun week on the Tongariro.
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Up until the weekend.

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A fun week on the Tongariro.
Sun 11th November, 2018


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We've had some fantastic fishing the last six months, and the Tongariro has been on sparkling form again this week. I've fished from the Braids up to Big Bend and had a great time.

I'm not going to pretend that the fish I've been catching have all been magnificent "five pounders"... of course they haven't .. its November!

But with most of them turning out to be well mended fish keen to feed up in order to regain even more condition I've got to give them a ten out of ten for sheer fun.

Add to that mainly fine weather and only a handful of other anglers around {when I've been fishing} and its easy to see why I've really enjoyed myself on the river this week.

Most of the time I've hardly used the indicator rod at all. And this morning didn't even bother to putting it in the wagon.



I was pretty keen to check out the skinny water in front of the lodge again because I hadn't been over there for about a month ... and I can tell you one thing you definitely don't need there at present is an indicator.

I spent a lot of time in this stretch of river during the winter runs and along with other Braids regulars had some superb fishing and fish.

With summer almost here I obviously wasn't expecting the same experience in November. Never the less it looks as if I may have been missing out.

On the second drift the sighter told me I'd better set the hook and I was into the first of several lively trout that kept on coming until I headed home around midday.



At the beginning of the week I went back to starting in Judges with the intention of heading upriver in the afternoon. I say intention because when I arrived around 8.00am the pool was unoccupied and as it turned out I never saw another sole all day.

This has happened a few times lately and it does seem to make a huge difference. With the pool to myself I was able to move up or down as I liked and "rest" spots when the takes dried up.

And with the exception of a short lull in the action around 2.00pm it hardly stopped until I left late in the afternoon.


Like a lot of Tongariro regulars I usually prefer to beach my fish. But when you're short line nymphing it inevitably involves wading out. So you have to net them or waste fishing time wading back and for to dry land. Boy ... was I glad I had the net on Monday because {if you exclude catching browns} it was one of the most rewarding days I've had on the Tongariro for a long time.

Again they weren't all monsters but on light gear and size 16 nymphs I'm not complaining.

The next time I was upriver I bumped into Peter Wilton who was with a client from San Fransisco. They were about to vacate the head of Big Bend and Pete told me they'd just returned a well mended hen around three pounds. Nothing special for regulars on the river but this young American was obviously still fizzing. Like he said "we don't get bows like this where I live in the U.S".

Its something you hear all the time from overseas visitors ... we're sooo lucky! here in NewZealand.

After Pete left I caught two fish in the tail of the pool and a couple more in the head later on ... one of them pictured left.

A lot of the rainbows we catch in November will be mending fish. But already many of them are recovering well and fight like tigers. Every so often you'll get a better fish and these two fat hens were probably my best since the last report. It was the only time this week I've used the indicator rod and I was glad I did because that particular fish was pretty determined to get away.

I eventually headed downstream to a couple of runs that I always enjoy fishing.

The fish I'm playing above was rising on the opposite bank. But the first cast was way off. The second drift was much better and the water "boiled" as the fish picked up the emerger below the dry just before the indicator fly disappeared.

So to sum up ... despite the low water conditions there are plenty of fish to be caught.

With the exception of the lower river most of the redds only have a few stragglers on them now. But this winters offspring are already evident and the margins and small backwaters are busy with shoaling fry. From now on I doubt a day will go by when you're on the river that you don't encounter previous years offspring, as juveniles make their way to the lake for the first time. I try to flick these off while they're still in the water. But if you have to handle them wet your hands first and hold them upside down ... it does work ... sometimes.

Weather wise it looks like more of the same with a mixture of sunny spells and isolated showers. But the wind could get up a bit tomorrow.

Its getting late so I'll finish off with some of the flies that have worked well this week.



Enjoy it out there

Tight lines

Mike
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