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Sizzling.
We'll need ear muffs before long.
Here they come.
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We'll need ear muffs before long.
Sat 19th January, 2019


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Despite a change in the weather at the beginning of the week, the cicadas kept coming. And it's turning out to be one of the most significant cicada events for several years.

I don't know what its like where you guys live but the sound of them chirping in the nearby forest starts at first light and continues non-stop until early evening.

When you're on the river the husks are everywhere and as you make your way along the tracks you'll often feel cicadas fly into you or hear their startled screech if you get too close.

I'm sure the heavy rain and wind at the start of the week saw to it that more of them were knocked into the river. This really got the fish interested and they've certainly switched onto this annual bounty the last few days.

I fished with Simon yesterday and most of the fish on the Tongariro came for big dries.


But he told me it was the same story when he fished back-country a day or two before.

And this brown was one of several fish that couldn't resist a big cicada imitation drifting overhead.

Mind you we got off to a bit of a slow start yesterday. And it wasn't until things warmed up mid-morning that the first of the rainbows smashed the foam bodied Madam X.

The first few fish were missed because the timing of the strike wasn't quite right. Trout quite often hit cicada patterns hard but the fish can sometimes be notoriously difficult to hook.
This is incredibly frustrating, and you think to yourself "how the f..k did I miss that".

Like most anglers I try and delay striking while I recite the appropriate sentence to myself. Although, if I have a lot of line out I find it better to strike straight away. The important thing is not to panic if you miss a few. Once you get into "the zone" it will usually sort itself out and you can enjoy the rest of the day. Easily said I know ... because I well remember a few years ago it drove me nuts because no matter what I tried I simply couldn't connect.


There are dozens of patterns out there to choose from, made from all sorts of materials. Some of them look nothing like the real thing but once the trout become pre-occupied with these big insects most of them will catch fish.

I carry a selection in different colours and sizes and chop and change if I need to.

The tan foam bodied Madam X is one I use as my indicator fly for the dry and dropper. But when there are plenty of cicadas around and the fish are taking them, I prefer to fish a single nymph below it { instead of two} and shorten the dropper. I also tweak the dry with black, brown and green marker pens. I don't know how much of a difference it really makes but it seems to work.

This year there are noticeably more Maoricicada. These are the smaller black variety you'll see at the moment. Some of these are the smallest of all the cicada species found here in New Zealand. And the dyed black, cropped deer hair pattern available in the tackle shops is worth trying now.

Cicadas will work just about anywhere on the Tongariro at the moment. Riffles, runs, pocket water, over hanging tree lines etc. And even though trout are usually reluctant to move too far for a meal, the sight of a big juicy cicada will often tempt them to the surface from the deepest pool. So if you haven't tried dry fly fishing you won't get a better time than right now.


Simon had his browns backcountry but there are plenty of them in the Tongariro during summer. He spotted several big fish downriver but they ignored everything he tried and in the end he didn't even bother casting to them. Thankfully they're not always as hard to get
and the one above sucked in the small nymph below the dry earlier this week.

Judges has had its moments again, both during and after the weekend rain. But it rarely fishes the same on consecutive days. And if you catch it on the wrong day it can be a bit discouraging if you don't know the place.

Simon had a great session there late Sunday afternoon. And when I fished it Tuesday morning {as the color dropped out} there were some great fish caught for the time of year...including the fish top right of the page that Bill is holding.

Not too much happening with the weather until the end of next week. So unless numbers have peaked our favourite big bugs should keep coming ... we'll all need ear muffs before long.


The noise levels are quite literally deafening when you're in amongst them. But before long the first of the cicadas that emerged in December will be coming to the end of their all to short life above ground. And as they weaken and flight becomes difficult, trout and all the other creatures that prey on them will be waiting for an easy meal. Then things should really kick off.

Enjoy the action guys

Tight lines

Mike
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