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Plenty of heavy showers but...

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Plenty of heavy showers but...
Wed 5th December, 2018


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We've had plenty of heavy showers and some rain since the last report and still the flow chart didn't get above thirty. But the following is a typical day on the river at present.

Most days when I've fished I've headed upriver first and then spent the afternoons around town ... and its worked out pretty well. The last time I was up that way though both banks in Boulder Reach were empty again. Which was a little surprising because its been good there lately. But then you remember it's the lead up to Christmas and angler numbers always tail off a few weeks before the big day.

The frequent showers had put a little more volume into the river and that extra six cumecs made the pool look a lot wider. There was even a hint of a milky tinge as I waded out.

I still had a caddis and PT nymph tied on from the last time I fished but after a few untouched drifts I changed both flies.

Next cast the sighter straightened and I was into the first of the day. And several spectacular jumps later I had a plump rainbow hen flapping on the bank at my feet.

I landed few more fish which weren't quite as good and then moved on to Big Bend.

When I arrived at the small car park that serves Big Bend that too was empty. So with no one in the pool when I got over there I jumped in at the top with the indicator set-up. A few drifts later the yarn dipped and I was playing what felt like a strong fish ... but we parted company before I could land it.

As I tied on another fly the skies darkened even more and the heavens opened. Well nobody can accuse me of being a fine weather angler because for the next hour or so it bucketed down before the heavy cloud cover eventually lifted. Luckily a couple of years ago I'd invested in a really good wading jacket. Although I have to say it seemed a lot of money for a jacket at the time. But as always you get what you pay for and at times like this its been well worth it.

I had five fish there but they were very tired looking specimens so I headed back to town.


By the time I got there it was like a different day with clearing skies and warm sunshine. Again no anglers anywhere so I waded across to my usual spot .. spooking a few fish as I went.

Even though I could see a couple of fish in front of me, after ten minutes with no takers I changed back to a caddis and nymph and had a hit almost under the rod tip straight away.

This "dirty white" caddis has done well for me up and down the river over the last few weeks. Its a simple pattern to tie and when wet has that juicy translucence that trout everywhere seem to like.

I prefer to tie them on a curved hook. But I also use a very similar commercial pattern with legs, thats tied on a straight hook, and that often works equally well. But I color the thorax on those with a brown marker before I use them.


Despite the unsettled weather when the sun does shine things soon warm up. And on Sunday afternoon I heard the first cicada in our garden since last summer. Its still early days for them along the river but I have had the odd fish slash at the indicator dry lately. However that's more than likely recovering fish chasing calories than fish specifically feeding on cicadas. There are currently over forty species identified in New Zealand and all of them are endemic to Aotearoa. The largest and more common is the chorus cicada which is probably the one that we see and hear most on the Tongariro in summer.

The majority of NZ anglers are familiar with the life cycle of this large bug ... although I did once over-hear a local angler telling an overseas fisherman " that during summer we quite often get a good afternoon hatch of cicadas on the Tongariro"🤔?

Like many creatures in the natural world cicada nymphs emerge in huge numbers ... usually at night. The reason they emerge en masse is a survival tactic. And although the first cicadas out are probably the unlucky ones, this strategy called predator satiation, ensures the survival of the species as a whole. The nymphs climb a nearby host tree and the outer skin splits lengthways along the back of the thorax allowing the adult to wriggle out. At this stage the wings are soft and wrinkled so it hangs there until they're pumped up and properly formed. By the next morning the wings have "inflated" fully and hardened sufficiently for the adult cicada to fly off to find a mate. The discarded nymphal skin {exuviae} remains attached to the tree and they'll often still be hanging there months later.

After spending most of their lives underground the adult cicadas life above ground only lasts a few weeks. But is something that fly fishermen look forward to every year because as more and more adult cicadas end up in the river it can trigger some exciting dry fly action. Unfortunately how good or bad the "cicada season" is likely to be is impossible to predict. So we'll just have to wait and see.

But from now on once the weather settles down or we get that ideal mix of light showers, followed by warm sunshine you should hear the sound of summer get louder everywhere.

I say everywhere ... it'll be interesting to see what happens this summer along the stretch they logged, because it still looks pretty desolate up there.

Compared to the rest of the Tongariro the noise levels from cicadas on that side of the river last year was almost non-existent. And I have a feeling that because of the logging a lot of their habitat was destroyed ... only time will tell.

Quite windy today with a drop in temperature. More of the same tomorrow with heavy rain forecast for Central North Island until evening. But that looks like the last of it ... and it's shaping up to be a fine and very warm weekend.

Still fish everywhere in the Tongariro and tomorrows wet weather should have a positive effect on "the fishing" over the next few days.

Grantly raft fished the upper reaches with a mate earlier in the week and they had over forty between them Czech nynphing the faster water up there.

Have great weekend guys

Tight lines

Mike
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