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Posts Tagged ‘Alexandra’

20 Year Old Trout!

April 8th, 2021 No comments

Over this season I’ve seen 2 trout that I had first seen many years before. Both from high country rivers where trout are known to get pretty old. I contacted my friend, Rasmus Gabrielson, to find out a bit about how old trout get. Rasmus reckons from some surveys done on one of the rivers that it would take a brown trout about 12 years to reach 9lbs. 9lbs is important because both trout were that weight when I caught them first. The first trout I caught back in 2013. He was one of the most spectacularly coloured trout I had ever seen. He had a dark patch on his right gill cover. This would make him easy to identify if I was to ever see him again. Over the years I did see him on occassion. The dark patch easily visible as long as there was no wind riffle. His colour never seemed as striking as when I first caught him but I always assumed it was the same fish. Twice he ate my clients flies but but each time the rod came up empty. It wasn’t until this season that the stars aligned for Robbie to catch him. If it wasn’t for the dark patch on the gill I would never have picked him as being the same trout. For confirmation I compared photos and the spots matched. Some spots seem to have moved a little, some new ones have appeared and some have disappeared but its still easy to see that it’s the same trout. The dark patch has gotten much darker. Whats really amazing is that if that fish was 12 when I caught him first, he’s 20 now and still going strong.

The other fish I first caught in 2015. He was also one of the most beautifully coloured and marked trout I had seen – and still is to this day – both are actually. After I caught this fish I didnt see him for years. I caught him again in 2020 and again in 2021. Still the same weight and still looking good. Assuming this fish was 12 when I first caught him, he’s 18 now and also still going strong. I caught this fish from 2 adjacent pools. The first fish mentioned has been in the same pool for every sighting. This really proves the territorial nature of some trout. It also proves their resilience and ability to be caught and released many times. There’s photos of both trout on their first and last capture at the bottom of the list below. One has certainly changed a lot. Rasmus told me about brown trout from Norwegian high country lakes reaching 30 years of age. I wonder if we have a 30 year old brown trout in NZ? I think we could.

I’ve picked these two examples because they were such memorable fish. It’s also easy to know that they are the same fish. I have other examples too of old trout being caught many times over many years. It seems very normal for them reach a certain size and then maintain that weight. Some older trout stop spawning, making reaching old age more likely. Spawning is very hard on trout and claims many every year.

In other news, it’s been a great couple of months of fishing. I’ve been out a lot myself and had some big and beautiful trout. I’ve done some guiding. I didn’t expect to guide a double figure fish this season with so few guide days due to Covid travel restrictions, but Brian from Christchurch proved me wrong. We flew into a wilderness river on day 3 of 3. Fishing was slow – the only way to make it work was to cover kilometres and maximise opportunities. With this plan we found fish. At the end of the day we found a monster! He took the dry but Brian briefly foul hooked him in the tail on the strike. Luckily the trout didn’t seem didn’t seem too bothered and continued feeding. He took my #14 brown nymph a few casts later. This fish faught hard and Brian played him really well. At the very end, almost in the net, he made a dash under a rock. Fully under. We couldn’t see a fin! One chance before the tippet abrades off the rock – go and pull him out! I walked out to the rock and slid my hand under feeling around for the tail – taking a shot of water down my waders as I did. I felt the tail and got a firm grip and pulled him out and put him in my net. What a relief! I was expecting it would be a “one that got away” story! The fish weighed just under 11lbs. To me he looked like an early lake run trout. He was twice as big as any other fish we caught that day.

With the travel bubble open between Australia and NZ, the end of my season is pretty much full but there’s still lots of availability in May. Still plenty availability between now and April 18 for anglers within NZ. Feel free to get in touch. ronan@sexyloops.com or visit my website.

Tight lines, Ronan..

Boating, Fishing & Guiding..

January 2nd, 2021 No comments

I’ve had the boat out a couple of times now with the family. She’s lovely! Not built for speed but she gets along just fine. I played with the trim on the engine trying to get the bow down with the throttle opened up. It seems weight up the front might be the only option to get the bow down to plane properly. I’m not convinced that more power would get much more speed but I could be wrong. Even with the 15HP Evinrude I found myself throttling down for optimum performance. I remember learning about “hull speed” years ago – that a yacht cant go past a certain speed based on its hull shape and weight. I’m looking forward to seeing if I can knock a bit more speed out of it with somebody up the front. Maybe with correct weight distribution more power would equal more speed. Time will tell! Cant wait to get it out for an exploritory multi day lake trip. There’s enough room to sleep on board and heaps of space to carry gear. Now to find the time to do it! She also needs a name…


Plenty good fishing lately. I’ve put some highlights in the gallery below. My annual pilgrimage into one of my favourite and most physically demanding gorges was successful. Just like last year I found only one fish – turned out it was the same fish as last year. I’m starting to think he’s the only fish in the river and I’m not joking! I’ve watched fish numbers decline since I started fishing it 6 years ago. No idea why. Such a pristine backcountry river. Great to see my friend for the 3rd time. He’s still 9lbs, in great condition and still in the same part of the river. Funnily enough he was the first fish I ever caught on the river 6 years ago and currently he’s the last. Now he seems to have the whole place to himself. He must be old. 6 years ago he was 9lbs so he must be at least 15 assuming 1lb growth per year til he reached 9lbs. No science behind that, juat a guess. Hopefully when I go back next season I’ll find a new fish in one of the pools – and maybe I’ll see my old friend again too. (this is the blog he appeared in last season. I’ve spent the last hour trying to find the blog he first appeared in but I can’t find it!)


The weather has taken a turn for the worse. Bad timing as I’m supposed to be fishing down south with Robbie today and tomorrow. It’s been raining heavily for about 30 hours now. All rivers in flood. I might hit a lake myself tomorrow. I spent today sweeping water out of the workshop while trying to make some furniture. Guttering and drainage around the house need attention. I’ve added it to the infinite list of jobs!


Feel free to get in touch about a guided fly fishing trip. Plenty spaces in my calendar this season! Check out my website or email me directly ronan@sexyloops.com.

Tight Lines & Happy New Year! Ronan..

The End of Lockdown…

May 20th, 2020 No comments

After 5 weeks of lockdown I was itching to get back at the rivers. We dropped back to level 3 only three days before the brown trout rivers closed. I managed to get one full day on day 1, a brief session while walking the kids on day 2 and a 3 hour session on day 3. The full day was just brilliant. I got to the river with a one hour walk downstream to complete before fishing back to the truck. I was at a jogging pace to get to the start of the beat – I just couldn’t wait. Straight away the fishing was good. The fish were out and feeding and holding where fish should hold. Thankfully the incredible weather all through lockdown held up for another day. Blue skies and no wind all day. Absolute bliss and I didn’t see another angler. I had 12 for the day and broke in 5 or 6 more because I ran out of my usual tippet. Very frustrating using bad tippet! A fantastic day regardless. I had decided in the morning that if I could get 2 decent trout near the truck I’d take them for dinner. Not something I usually do but as long as I know there are plenty trout about I don’t mind taking one or two on occasion. I got one with the truck in sight and had to work pretty hard for the second but got him in the end. They fed 4 adults and 2 kids and included a cold smoked fillet as a starter. There is something very special about feeding the family with freshly caught, wild trout.

One good thing that came from the lockdown was spending time with the kids when I’d otherwise have been working. Our daily walks were along the river where I’d frustrate myself looking at feeding trout. The crazy thing is I had never even seen this section of river that flows through the town. Local lockdown walks were the reason I got to check it out. It’s lovely water. I didn’t see heaps of trout there but there were enough. Unfortunately there was little chance to carry the rod on the local walks due to level 4 lockdown rules (no fishing!). Now that we can fish the season is closed (apart from the aforementioned 3 days.). Next season, whenever I get a day off, and there may well be many, I’ll be taking the kids for a walk and taking the rod. By then Adaline will be old enough to reel in a fish herself. Lochlan might be too.

We’re into the winter season now. There are still many rivers open til the end of May. Once June starts just a few large rivers and most of the lakes remain open. Plenty though. I’m looking forward to getting out whenever I get a chance. The kids have severely disrupted my fishing if you haven’t already guessed that! I’ve had a few outings recently. I didn’t catch many myself but the folks with me did pretty well. The first tug from a large winter rainbow woke me as I drifted off to sleep last night! That will tell you whats on my mind. Dying to get stuck in a large migrating rainbow – one of the highlights of my season. The next fishing on the agenda will hopefully be filming another episode for Pure Fly NZ with my comrade Jeff Forsee and fly fishing film legend, Nick Reygaert. We have a few ideas.

I recently did a podcast with Daire Whelan from Ireland On The Fly. I never did one before so I was a bit nervous. However, here is a link for anybody who’d like a listen. Or you can use this link. I’ll be doing something similar on Instagram soon – a live chat with Justin Spence in Montana. I guided Justin and his friend Dan last season. Justin needed no guidance really, I’d just take him to the river and he’d know what to do. Certainly one of the great fly fishermen! For our Instagram session were just going to chat about fly fishing! More on this when I know more.

Feel free to get in touch with any questions about guided trips next season or this season if you live in NZ. You can contact me on ronan@sexyloops.com or visit my website.

Tight Lines… Ronan..