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Last report before Christmas.
Perfect as we head towards the Xmas break.
Its not quite as easy now.
Plenty of heavy showers but...

Perfect as we head towards the Xmas break.
Thu 20th December, 2018

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Since the last report there has been some pretty active weather across the country and towards the end of last week we had one of the biggest thunderstorms locally that I've seen for a while.
I can't remember the exact figure but in that 24 hour period over 30,000 lightning strikes were recorded across New Zealand ... the vast majority of them occurring on the North Island.

Unsurprisingly the deluge that accompanied the spectacular light show put a little extra volume into the river. Although I have to say I was expecting the flows to have increased a lot more than they did.

Nevertheless that little bit of additional flow and color was enough to spark off some better fishing for a day or two and up until yesterday the Tongariro was still flowing a dash milky.

Most of this years post spawning fish still in the river seem to have recovered well and these were fairly typical of rainbows caught since last weeks heavy rain.

I took a stroll upriver yesterday and although I had a few fish I've found it better lately around town. The fish appear to be in better nick and there's more of them.

This weeks combination of sunshine and rain has triggered the emergence of a few cicadas up there. And once you leave the Blue Pool car park and get away from the scene of last years logging there's a lot of noise in the canopy above. But a few dozen male cicadas concentrated in one area can make quite a racket. So despite the noise I don't think huge numbers of them have left their underground chambers up there yet.

Judges has had its moments again from both banks and the couple of times I've been there the TRB has been empty.

It was quite murky when I was there last and this often puts anglers off.

But it's an ideal time to try for browns and although it's still early for them it wouldn't have come as much of a surprise if I had hooked one.

As the color begins to drop out I find I often do better here if I suspend the nymphs rather than fish them hard on the bottom.

It takes a day or two for the fine silt hanging in the water to settle back and I think trout probably feed higher in the water column during this time. All of the fish I've had there since the rain have been on nymphs under the dry or on the top dropper when I've been nymphing.

Remember these from the last report ... well I went back to Sporting Life to stock up on a few and since then have discovered they're actually a pattern called "Birds Stone nymph". This fly was the brainchild of famous American fly-tier Calvert "Cal" Bird and has been around since the 1960's.

At the time the flat profile of the pattern was something quite new and although its since been superseded by more modern versions the original still works well.

I say it all the time and its true... you never stop learning.

Plenty of juveniles around too and a day won't go by through summer and early autumn without encountering them somewhere along the river. Judging by the shoals of fry in the margins and slower running backwaters its been another good spawning season.

It will eventually impact on the size and quality of our trout because of increased pressure on the available food supply in the lake.

Personally I don't think increasing the bag limit will make that much difference. For whatever reasons most anglers nowadays practice catch and release ... you see the odd fish being carried back to the car but thats about it.

Even during the winter runs when fish are in prime condition I can count on one hand the number of anglers I've come across taking limit bags home.

I'm as guilty as the next guy of not killing enough fish but maybe the time has come for all of us to take a few home whether we intend to eat them or not.

The showers we had this morning have quickly cleared and once again the sun is shining. However there are more showers forecast. But already I can hear a few cicadas in the garden and no doubt it's the same along the river. Checking the flow graph I see its up a little again and flowing at 26 cumecs.

Looks like a cracking weekend coming up. And from tomorrow it will get steadily busier in Turangi as thousands descend on the area for the Christmas holidays.

If you intend fishing the Tongariro expect some company ... so try and get away from the carparks. January weather often throws up a good fresh which in turn encourages the first big flush of browns into the river. But just like the "cicada season" it'll be what it'll be.

Caddis have been working well again and I've been doing ok using the pupa and those bright green larvae patterns. When the weather settles down you'll see more anglers venturing out for the evening rise and thats often a good option if you fancy wetting a line when the river is busy during the day.

Have a great Christmas guys.

Tight lines

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