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Trout Flats!

January 24th, 2018 No comments

In my questionnaire I send to clients prior to their fishing trip with me I ask “Would you like to fish river, lake or whatever’s best on the day?”. Most say river full stop. Others say “river preferably but a lake if its going to be amazing” I can never guarantee “amazing” so river it is!!. Some say “whatever’s best on the day” but nobody says “lake please!” It’s pretty clear that the average clients understanding of lake fishing is does not really apply to NZ. I think they believe it to be standing in one spot and blind fishing all day. They could not be more wrong! One could fish that way but they wouldn’t do very well generally speaking.

For me, it’s usually sight fishing. Often along a lake edge which we walk and stalk. When an opportunity presents the angler must quickly and accurately intercept the fish with his or her fly. It’s different to a river because we rarely find fish on station waiting for food. Therefor every opportunity is time critical. We must follow the fish or back off if he’s coming towards us, sometimes diving for cover so he doesn’t see us. We don’t want to follow for too long because he may well turn to the deep or cross paths with another fish, another opportunity. Certain lakes offer lots of different shoreline types adding to the appeal.

Sometimes we find fish working a beat. This gives us a chance to plan our attack! Trout will often cruise a set route over and over again. If we see a trout on a flat we may be able to view the whole beat. A good approach then is to cast to the near side of the beat when the trout is at the far side, then wait for the fish to come back and cruise to where our presentation is waiting. Usually a nymph suspended under a dry at cruising depth. The trap is set! This is very exciting and extremely productive and I love it! Interestingly, my clients and I regularly stumble upon this type of fishing in backwaters on many rivers. Not a single client didn’t enjoy it, and certainly nobody asked to be taken back the main river immediately (so you see, you do like lakes!! You just don’t know it yet!!)! Another good thing about the lakes is that they stay pretty cool in hot summers like this one. I have had a number of days recently when trout get a lot quieter in the afternoon as the water heats up on small to medium sized rivers.

Another form of lake fishing is the cream of it. Trout flats. These are wide expanses of ankle to waist deep water of pretty uniform bottom where trout cruise. The approach is walk and and watch! I like to get out to knee deep water where I can slowly walk along stalking pretty much the 360 degrees around me. Sometimes there are lots of trout on the flats, other times few but the quality of the fishing when it’s on must rival bone fishing (I’m guessing, I’ve never done it!). I recently had a 2 hour spell with a client on a trout flat where we had multiple shots coming at us at any one time. It was feckin bananas. The whole day was good but that spell was as good as it gets! Reel screaming, knuckle busting runs from big healthy brown trout. Trout flats are not always easy wading with soft sand and silt often making up the bottom. However, some are firm and easy to wade.

Blind fishing is not to be sniffed at either, though I do understand why this is not top of the list. Being brought up on Irish Loughs, blind fishing was the way to catch fish so I’m very at home doing it here. It’s great from a drifting boat but also great from the bank. On days where you have no sun to sight fish a flat, blind fishing a couple of light PT nymphs can be excellent. Deeper weeded flats are often best blind fished regardless of conditions. The takes are electrifying! Blind fishing requires endurance casting. To be good at at you need to be able to cast repetitively for 8 hours straight. Thats how we role in Ireland anyway!

Tight Lines everyone!

Ronan..

Anyone planning a trip to NZ, I still have some spaces in February, March and April РMay too! ronan@sexyloops.com or see my website http://www.ronansflyfishingmissions.com