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Variety is the spice of trout fishing…

February 11th, 2015 2 comments

I think the reason I can immerse myself so completely in NZ trout fishing is in it’s diversity. The diversity lies in the location, the method used to catch the trout and the trout itself. Within an hour or so of my base in Cromwell I can be in the arid, rocky moonscape of Poolburn or Manorburn dams, the lush rain-forested rivers of Glenorchy, the meandering waters through the green fields of the Maniototo, any number of gorges from the easy going to the gut busting, the Mataura and it’s many tributaries, any one of the Southern Lakes; a little more drive time and I’m on the Coast, East or West. Gin clear water, river mouths, surf, lakes; some of which are tannin and some clear, some big some small. These examples just scratch the surface.

In any one of these locations an angler can put a multitude of methods and techniques into action. A single size 18 dry on the Mataura to a 3″ streamer at the Haast River mouth for example. You could also swing a 3″ streamer on the Mataura of course… and this means that every location could potentially work with any method so the list of “method” and “type of water” combinations is vast. It pays to think outside the box a little. Much of the early fishing in NZ was with wet-flies fished down and across. It still works! Though I rarely use it. If I could only sight fish I’d probably get a little bored of it, Just the same if blind nymphing was the only option. Variety of methods versus water keeps it interesting!

Here in Central, the only option of species to catch is brown and rainbow trout (and a few perch) but with the number of ways to catch them it’s like having numerous species. Most importantly for me though, it’s the individuality of the trout themselves. Each one is different to the next, especially with browns. Their own differences, sometimes subtle sometimes complete, is definitely a major part of why I simply don’t and won’t get sick of this. Fishing for really beautiful fish is now an addiction just like big fish hunting.  Have a look at the photo’s below, Every fish in it is a genetically identical yet completely different. I’m so thankful for this diversity among trout. If they were all the same I don’t think I’d be half as keen as I am.

Some good stuff planned this weekend!

Tight lines..

Ronan..

Ignorance is bliss!

February 4th, 2015 1 comment

I had fished the river once on a southbound mission on the West Coast with Paul. We had just finished fishing and filming an epic journey to one of the most remote rivers in NZ (http://globalflyfisher.com/video/revolution) and the 8 days that followed were fishless.. including the day on this river. So, I knew about it. I knew it could be good but in my limited experience on it it wasn’t. I had no idea where I fished it all those years ago. I looked on the map and picked a random access. Down the road Iza and I went, through a gate, crossed a creek and to the river. I took a stroll 100m up river and saw 3 trout which I didn’t catch. This reminded me of the difficult fishing I had that day while Paul was writing a front page for Sexyloops.. I though that was what we were in for the following day. I prepared myself for difficult fish but it turned out that they were not that tough at all. We had a ball!

Here are the best pics from our northbound trip up the coast in early Jan.. I’m way behind on my blog! I might just have to omit the last month to catch up.. but some great things happened up to 9lbs… well, 8.75!

Ronan..

Blind Fishing..

January 19th, 2015 7 comments

There are those who only want to catch trout on a dry and those who only want to sight fish. These are two great ways to catch a trout, no doubt about that, but its not the only way. Far from it! I’m not going to list out all the methods one can use to catch a trout but I’ll mention one. Blind fishing. Blind fishing is fishing likely water with a dry, nymph, wet fly or streamer on river or lake. I want to touch on blind nymphing on rivers. Some NZ rivers are thought of as sight fishing only but very few truly are. No matter how good a spotter you are you wont see all the fish even in the clearest of water. I remember fishing the Oreti about 12 years ago and trying to spot fish. All I did was spook them. I started realising that I was spooking them from a specific type of water so I started blind fishing that type of water. Quickly I landed some fish. This started a steep learning curve for me, partly because I was novice spotter so blind fishing made sense but also because blind fishing just worked! On certain rivers I could blind fish a pool more quickly and productively than trying to spot it. In more recent years I’ve been relying more on my eyes than on blind fishing but I have never forgotten the value of prospecting a deep riffle or bouldery run. Blind fishing is still a major part of my angling. I believe the trick is to move quickly, no more than 2 or 3 blind casts in any area then move up at least a leader length. Try to get the most out of your drift to get the nymphs to maximum depth. A trout will often take at the very end of the drift as the nymphs raise up in the water. Much blind fishing will take place in deeper runs or riffles so if one looks fishy, don’t be afraid to change over to a weighted nymph rig to suit the depth, even in summer!

I think the biggest bonus of blind fishing is the quality of the fish you’re likely to catch. I have a theory that relates to regularly fished rivers. The fish that are easy to see are quite often recovering after being caught a day or so before. They may be feeding but due to being caught recently their energy levels are not so high and they favour easy, slow water to recover fully. There, they are also easy to be seen! They get caught again and the cycle continues, each time they get caught they get a little more worn out. Their markings fade, condition decreases, they get darker because their eyesight worsens; they perceive their surroundings to be darker than they are so they in turn darken to blend in. A self propagating fuck-up. A dark fish is easy for an angler to see. I won’t cast to an unusually dark fish for this reason. —– A fish caught blind from a deep run is usually a fit powerhouse. They have to be to thrive in such water. Their markings are sharp and striking, they may well never have been caught before because most anglers will walk past them on a “sight” fishing river. I have proved this theory to myself time and time again. Blind fishing has great rewards!

The pictures below show a good cross section of recent fishing adventures.. More to come from the New Year mission up the West Coast where Iza and I fished some of the clearest water I’ve seen..

If you’re new here and you like this, please subscribe! The more the merrier…

Ronan..

Harihari Coastal Walkway…

January 7th, 2015 2 comments

The fishing never stops but writing about it has taken a downturn lately. It’s just been really hard to find the time! Here is a snippet from a recent week on the West Coast..

Iza and I decided on the Harihari Coastal Walk as an activity during our week out west. To be honest, walking for the sake of walking bores me to tears. I walk to get somewhere, to do something, a means to an end. That said, if a walk is really spectacular I can have my arm twisted (or if Iza wants to go).. We gathered up what we needed for the walk and set off to the track. At the beginning of the 2.5 hour loop there was a sign advising safe times to walk to avoid high tide, there was also mention of the Poerua River Mouth. This got me thinking..  We were leaving at the worst possible time to avoid high tide but in my reckoning, the best time to fish the mouth. How could I not bring a rod on this walk? I nipped back to the truck and grabbed the 8wt and minimal tackle. High tide was no problem as the rocks were easy to scramble over and the seas were calm.

On arrival at the mouth a quick glance told me how to fish it. I started up river a little and worked it down with a di5 and a couple of streamers until the surf got uncomfortable. I fished the top of the tide and about an hour of the ebb. The fishing was good! I had one good kahawai and a couple of browns. One was a spectacular golden trout. It’s unusual to catch fish like this from a river mouth but there was a huge tannin stained lagoon flowing in on the opposite bank and I assume that’s where this fish came from. That lagoon would definitely be worth an explore too. I may have to come back. I did check out the river farther upstream but it seemed void of life and extremely flood prone and unstable.

After a great 1.5 hours on a beautiful beach we finished the walk which I actually really enjoyed. Rich in history and very varied with coastline, rivers, native bush and forest, mountain views, great company and of course fishing!

Fella’s, If  your passing Hari Hari take her for a beautiful walk and don’t forget the rod!

Ronan..

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Keep Your Nerve…

November 27th, 2014 1 comment

I’ve been up to my eyeballs lately and it has been hard to find the time to write. I’m busy at work, working on visa stuff, doing a few jobs around the house, nursing a few injuries, the list goes on.. Needless to say I’ve been on the water every weekend (bar one, I had to rest to allow my hand and back injuries to recover so Iza and I went walking locally.. hence the flower pics!!)

Dunstan is fishing well. Good sight fishing to be had around the edges and on the flats. I know the boat would be great on it but mine is out of order just now. Last weekend I had the best fishing on the silt flats blind fishing a couple of spiders. I fished them the same way my father would, just figure of eighting, staying in touch and waiting for resistance. Great fish too. Some over 4lbs and in great condition.

Mark and I found a gorge on a local river on Google Earth. It had and entry point and an easy exit about 6-8ks farther up. What was in between didn’t look too tough but you can’t be sure, I learned that before! So, we took it on even though the water was high. Sort of a mistake as it turned out. Sight fishing was tough in the deeper pools and damn all fish were out in the water we could see. The going was tough. Just about every step took extra effort and moving up stream in the river was very limited with the steep sides and deep water. Basically we bush bashed, climbed and bouldered all day. I love it. Being in a gorge is one of the best things about NZ fishing. Tough gorges, like this one, see very few anglers. One needs to be a little bit adventurous (some might say mad, but not me) to enjoy them. It’s important to realise the risks involved and not be Gung ho while in the thick of it. When climbing I try to assess the risks as I go. If a section appears dangerous, I look to see if there is something to grab on to if I slipped, a crack, a sprig of thyme, whatever. If there is nothing I’ll find another route. Occasionally you have no choice but to make a risky manoeuvre. At these times you need to keep your nerve, don’t hesitate. Always try to help your fishing buddy.

This gorge seemed to go on forever! We thought we were near the end but we weren’t. We thought it was flattening out but then it got steeper, we thought it was getting easier but it got harder. Mark was getting impatient. He just wanted out, some of the riskier climbs were taking their toll. I wanted to see it through. Thankfully there was no place to climb out and shortly after we made it to the bridge. The fishing was not so good but the gorge was awesome.. in the true sense of the word.

Guy was here recently. We planned a trip to the coast but we turned back with the rainfall increasing as we drove west. We fished Dunstan instead! Good old reliable Dunstan. Hail, rain, snow or sun, it will fish.

Great to fish with Kevin, Mark and Guy recently!

Ronan..

Ps. Here is a short article I wrote for Manic Tackle Project recently.. http://www.manictackleproject.com/friday-fly-day-ronan-creane-contributes/

Iza’s First Fish On Fly…

October 31st, 2014 No comments

So much time has elapsed since my last blog that I don’t know where to start! I’ve had 8 days on the water since writing and I don’t have the energy to write about it all. There were a number of highlights; some big fish, some stunning fish, fishing with Robie, fishing with Iza..

The best bit was coaching Iza on to her first fish on fly. We fished together on the secret dam on a Saturday with very mixed weather. mostly rainy and cold! She hooked a fish or 2 but didn’t land any. She did hook and land a fish but I made the cast. valuable fish playing practice none the less..

On Sunday we fished a local tributary of the Clutha. We fished from the confluence up. Not too far up I spotted a trout happily feeding in the eye of a pool. The water was swirling around so a drag free drift was difficult to achieve. Iza could see the fish from time to time so she knew where her fly needed to land to drift into the trouts lair. All the hours spent practising on lawn and water kicked in and she was sending in consistently decent shots. Eventually he ate. I saw the dry above the nymph check but I wasn’t sure if it was an eat, Iza noticed the dry stop too but struck without hesitation and hooked the fish. She played it well and when I fumbled with the net she dragged it up onto the bank. So I had dam all part to play in her first fish! She did it all from strike to land.. I put the fish in the net while I got my camera out to record this special moment. I left the net down and stepped away then turned around to take the photo. As I did I saw the trout zoom out of the net towards freedom! It was disappointing not to get a photo but it was great fishing event!!

Robbie Mcphee and myself fished together for a few great days last weekend. Iza joined us on the last one and she got a lovely 4lber in the first pool. This time the photo was a success! Cheers Robbie! She also hooked and lost one of about 6lbs so its all starting to happen for her…

I remember my first fish, I’ve guided many onto their first fish on fly.. Some close friends, Nigel, Tom, Fuzz, Jamie, Nico, Irene, Adam, spring to mind.. Justin, Eamonn, Kevin.. Have another go!! Its a special moment.. It was for me anyway!

The stories from the the other missions will have to be told in photos!

Ronan..

PS. Submissions to stop the “round the mountain cycle trail” ruining the upper Oreti valley must be in by the 3rd. All info here.. http://www.sexyloops.com/blog/2014/10/18/the-oreti-needs-your-help/

 

The Oreti Needs Your Help!

October 18th, 2014 No comments

Much of the following is from an email from Chris Dore..

As part of the “Round The Mountain Cycle trail” the developers wish to push up to 60,000 cyclists per year through the Oreti Valley in Southland, New Zealand. This is also one of New Zealand’s (and the worlds) top trophy trout producing rivers. Aside from angling, visitors rate highly the wild, natural and scenic environment of the upper valley through the ‘walk only zone’, the location of the proposed cycle track.

Whether you have visited this area in the passed or whether it is on your wish list, please write a submission mentioning how you feel about sending in bulldozers and extracting gravel from quarries to be excavated in this valley, and the resulting cycle trail and proposed bridge across this most remote and untouched area, also how the construction, maintenance and daily cycling tours through the valley may affect your desire to visit this stunning location.

There is a perfectly viable, more cost efficient and lesser environmentally damaging route available down through the Mararoa river valley which simply makes more sense. The Oreti is one of the best trophy trout waters on earth and should not be jeopardized. It’s that simple.

Submissions close Nov 3rd and can be emailed to emailsdc@southlanddc.govt.nz in a word document following the general format of the prescribed RMA submission form ( form 13) located in the link below. Even a couple of sentences will make a difference.

Anyone can submit on this, including international interests and it’s important we do so.

Mention you are supportive of the cycle trail with the exception of the proposed route from the Mt Nicolas road bridge, down through the Oreti valley including the proposed bridge spanning the river and associated structures. There is a viable and less disruptive route available down the Mararoa with the safety of a nearby road should cyclists get into trouble.

The natural landscape of the upper Oreti valley is highly important to the amenity value of the Oreti, and aside from the world class trophy brown trout fishery, draws hikers, hunters, bird watchers and mountain bikers who appreciate the remoteness of this location, the wild and natural landscape with relative ease of access.

Submission forms can be downloaded here… http://southlanddc.govt.nz/my-southland/around-the-mountains-cycle-trail/stage-two/

Here is a template..

Submission on Application Publicly Notified
(Form 13 under Resource Management (Forms, Fees and Procedures) Amendment Regulations
2006)
Sections 96, 97 and 127(3), Resource Management Act 1991

To: Southland District Council
Name of Submitter: JOE BLOGGS
This is a submission on an application from Southland District Council for a resource consent (or for a change or cancellation of a condition of a resource consent) to: Construct and operate the Around the Mountain Cycle Trail.
The specific parts of the application that my submission relates to are: The Construction and operation of a cycle trail from the Mt Nicolas Road bridge, down through the upper Oreti Valley to centre hill, the proposed bridge across the Oreti river, and buildings throughout the trail in this area.

My Submission is:
I have no problem with the cycle trail as a whole. It’s just the proposed section from Mt Nicholas bridge to Center Hill that should not be allowed. This IS one of the BEST trophy trout waters in the world and should not be jeopardized. The construction, maintenance and use of the area as a cycle trail would only detract from and possibly ruin this amazing fishery. I ask that the Mararoa valley be used instead. I can’t stress enough the importance of this section of the Oreti as an accessible trophy trout water for visitors and locals alike.

I seek the following decision from the consent authority: That the application is not approved while containing the section of cycle trail running from the Mt Nicolas road bridge, down through the upper Oreti Valley downstream to and including the proposed bridge across the Oreti river Iinking to the track along centre hill road.

I do not wish to be heard in support of my submission. (Or I do)

Signature of submitter:
Date:
Contact person:
Address for service of submitter:
Telephone: Fax / email:

Thanks all…

Ronan..

Opening Weekend…

October 14th, 2014 No comments

Another season is well under way. For opening weekend I decided to try some newish water. I had fished it once before about 11 or 12 years ago but only a pool or two and my approach was not great. My memories were of a stream being so willow lined that casting was impossible but thankfully it wasn’t all that bad. It was tough, but far from impossible. I put in a couple of very big days on it to kick off the river season. I covered about 40kms on foot over the 2 days. By the time I got to the truck at the end of day 2 my legs had nearly ceased up. They were burning. I don’t believe they’ve ever burned that much. Over the winter months on the lakes, my legs didn’t get the training the rivers give them and I felt it. It was well and truly worth the pain and effort though; I had some great, challenging fishing and some magnificent fish. That’s why I’m here.

Ronan…

At lunch time on day 1, I thought of Oliver Kite and his “generous libation” as I opened my beer. I gave a libation too.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ptV1OORfvlI

The last lake mission for a while… The rivers are open!

October 3rd, 2014 1 comment

Another season has landed so I better buy my licence. The fishing has been so good on the lakes for the last while that part of me doesn’t want to leave them! I will though, I have 5 options in my head for tomorrow and the next day. Two small creeks, two medium rivers and one in between. I’ll make the call in the morning. The forecast is not great so some willow lined water to cut out glare might be the go. I know just the place…

The last 2 weekends were simply fantastic. I had one in Omarama and stayed at the magical Buscot Station Backpackers and the other right here in Cromwell. Mostly sight fishing to cruising browns over sand and silt flats. I also had decent action along willow lined edges, swampy creek mouths, steep tussock banks, weed beds and even a treated effluent outfall! (surprisingly good fishing at the latter!).

There were plenty of great moments. I want to talk about them all but I have flies to tie for tomorrow. I’ll mention one .. I spotted a good fish cruising tight to the shore along a cut bank over sand. I got into position as the fish swam into a notch in the bank. This allowed me to get close and not be seen. The notch was approximately a meter by half a meter and about half a meter deep. I leaned over until I could see the tip of his tail, careful not to make eye contact and spook him. No need to cast, I unhitched the weighted nymph and put it where it needed to be. A little jiggle and the trout’s tail gave a quick kick propelling him towards my fly and out of my sight. I struck a moment later based only on when I thought he should have eaten the fly if he did at all… though I knew he would. A great moment when I lifted into a solid 4lber. My fly was wrong, at least, not my first choice but I was all out of spiders. The fly worked because I put it where it needed to be and moved it a bit to give an otherwise very dead fly some life. It wasn’t the fly that caught the fish, more where it was and what it did that did.

Trout are known for being wily, elusive, and spooky. They are, but not all the time. I spotted a cruiser on Dunstan last weekend and made a cast to him. I let the fly sink and started to strip it away slowly. I lightly hooked his flank near the tail. The fish was briefly but solidly pulled sideways through the water. When the hook came out the fish seemed happy again and I continued to fish for him. Sometimes he looked interested so I kept fishing until he ate. I got him. After unhooking and releasing him I noticed the fly had one of his own scales on it from the brief foul hooking incident!

Check out the rainbow in the bottom row of photos. My best fish from Dunstan for ages.. She is a magnificent creature..

Ok, That’s all for now.. I must tie some flies and buy a licence!

Tight lines all and Happy Season!

Ronan..

Fishing on my Doorstep..

September 19th, 2014 No comments

Last weekend I stayed local, very local. I fished the water nearest the house and caught my first fish about 150m from the door. Ten fish landed and plenty more spotted for the weekend. All sighted, nymphs and spiders did the trick. Fantastic fun and great not to burn a tank of diesel!

Omarama in the morning…

Ronan..

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