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Posts Tagged ‘Dunstan’

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..

A Hover of Trout!

June 12th, 2014 1 comment

The weekend before last, Chris Dore and I fished the Frankton Arm. Last year I learned that bright sun is not ideal on the Frankton Arm in winter and that stands true this year. The fishing was slow for most of the day apart from the hour between 2.30 and 3.30. We had 4 in that time slot.

Good old friendly rivalry was alive and well in the boat, 1-0 to Chris, a few hours later 1-1, Then I got a couple (I may have been dragging the line behind the boat as I slowly motored to the next drift, not trolling of course because it was…. an accident, yea.) Some dirty tactics from Chris as he snagged my fly-line almost scuppered my roll to victory. Then another, 4-1. The end score was 4-2 but we weren’t keeping score of course.

I had some good fishing to reasonable numbers of cruising fish at the head of Lake Dunstan last Saturday. I was pleasantly surprised at the numbers of fish about. On Sunday, Kevin and I went on a firewood mission on the Kawarau Arm on Dunstan. We found a hover of trout instead. (My brother with his vast knowledge of all things trout just informed me that a group of trout is known as a hover. Thanks Conor!) I ended up having 2 hours of really good but tough sight fishing. The dull day didn’t matter because the hill on the opposite side was high enough to cut out the glare and spot against. I’m pretty sure they were eating tiny snails, some floating. Another pleasant surprise to get good sight fishing during the worst fishing month of the year only a kilometre from the house! I remember watching Bernard Venables on the telly years ago. He spoke of “a swagger of perch”. Maybe many species have their own specific word for a school.

No fishing this weekend! Iza and I are off to watch the the All-Blacks v England in Dunedin. We’ll also be catching up with some friends. Looking forward to it!

Ronan..

Lake Dunstan at the moment..

April 12th, 2014 4 comments

The browns on Dunstan have all but left the top flats. I was there last Saturday. For a while, a large section of the lake was dead calm. In about 2 hours fishing it, I saw only a few rises. I caught one on one of Dad’s buzzers and then went exploring the Clutha River through the various delta channels. I saw a few fish in deep, fast water but could do little with them. I had some nice action in the lee of a willow island to a few rising fish. All up though, the fishing was slow and the rainbows have not arrived on the top flat just yet.. not many anyway.

On Sunday, Kevin and I went out for a few hours, We decided to fish down the lake towards Clyde. There’s lots of fishy water down the road shore. One section in particular had my attention from regularly driving passed it. We went there. We did a number of drifts covering deep to shallow water, weedy to sandy and some rocky edges. Almost every drift resulted in a fish event. We landed 5, The best fish was a 4lb plus rainbow on a nymph David Lambroughton gave me. I was also fishing one of Stu Tripney’s damsel flies, which also picked up a fish or 2!

So that’s it.. If you’re keen on a day on Dunstan, maybe try down the lake. This time last year the top was very slow. By May, the fishing on the top flat was pretty good again for rainbows. Until then I’ll be exploring between here (Cromwell) and the Clyde dam. Hopefully it will produce the goods.

No fishing this weekend.. I picked up a stomach bug and it has me fucked.

Ronan..

Daltona Rides Again…

February 17th, 2014 8 comments

The last time I tried to start Daltona’s old 35hp Johnson was with Chris Dore on Lake Wakitipu last winter. She simply would not start. I think Chris was secretly happy because the wind was strong and the waves were big. I was a bit relieved myself, truth be told. My diagnosis at the time was that the spark plugs had run their course. There was one Saturday since then that I made a half assed effort to resolve the problem; I borrowed a spark plug spanner but it did not fit. On Saturday last, Kevin and I decided to take a look at the outboard with the hope of getting out on the water. Within 5 minutes Kevin had the engine running like the well oiled machine she is. It was indeed the spark plugs. We wasted no time and hit for the lake.

The weekend was a rare one where the almost incessant shitwinds of Cromwell took a respite. Fishing the glass on Dunstan is extremely challenging and in my opinion the best fishing Dunstan has to offer. It’s a shame its such a rare event. The fish move and track, usually around the edges of the weed beds. Dries and nymphs will work but quick, accurate casting will be the difference between a great day and few or no fish. When the breeze picks up to a slight ripple the fishing is a lot easier and I usually move to the silty pockets among the weeds. Most of Sunday had a corduroy ripple on the surface and I lost count of how many fish I had to the net. All sighted. A size 14 weighted spider was the ticket. A 2mm tungsten bead was just enough weight to quickly get the fly to the zone.

Daltona rides again…

ps. Sorry about the small pics this week! I had my camera set on very low res because I forgot my sd card one day, then I forgot to put it back on full res! The internal memory is shite.

Ronan..

“I’ll Fuckin Ram You”

June 6th, 2013 No comments

Mark and I were about 100m off the shore, drifting parallel to it and toward a heavy weed bed about 150m away. I noticed two anglers on the shore with their boat pulled up. They put in after we passed them by and started trolling down the shore. They were also heading for the weed bed which ran from the shore out into the lake across the line of our drift. My intention was to drift as far as the weeds with the most likely water being close to the weeds. The trollers were moving tight to the shore and as they got to the weeds before us they changed their course to follow them. I wondered when they would pull out to the back of us. They didn’t. They held their course and cut our drift about 10m in front of us. I reeled up. I was going to say something but thought, no, no big deal, they have no idea of lake etiquette, I’ll just leave it at that. We were clearly drifting. My engine was off and pulled up so a boat under power should give way, that is the rule. I let my boat drift close to the weeds before dropping the engine down to shallow drive to back out. Too late as it turned because I got the boat stuck in the weeds! While trying to back out the trollers started roaring back to us saying I cut their lines with my prop! They turned around to come back for a fight or whatever. I was looking forward to the argument because they were so much in the wrong. They came alongside us shouting like fools and I told them they crossed our drift, One of the lads tried to retort but Mark fired up and in no uncertain terms told him where to go. At this he said “I’ll fuckin ram you” and he roared off out in a circle with his 135hp engine and came back to ram us. My engine was ticking over and only for I pulled the bow around he would have hit us. He missed by an inch or 2. Mark was up on the bow (casting platform) at the time and as their boat passed at pace we were left sloshing in the white water behind the engine. Almost immediately after this idiotic act they left the lake. Maybe they had no more spinners. I was pleased to find my tires were not slashed when we decided to leave. We caught half a dozen fish.

Ronan..

This is my personal favourite episode from the SLTV series.. There is drama, broken trucks, broken engines, the world famous Peter Hayes, Hair, Oil, Fish, Mayhem, Wind, Rain, Casting…. It’s all happening in this episode.. Enjoy!

Strike when the iron is hot!

September 13th, 2012 1 comment

One thing I’ve learned during my almost 22 years fly-fishing is that nothing can be taken for granted. This is true both in the short term and the long term. A few weeks ago I was enjoying some world class fishing in a remote part of one of the Southern Lakes. I had it to myself 3 weekends in a row. I got as much as I could from it because I knew my time there with that quality of fishing was limited. The last time I managed to get the boat in to get across the lake I got the truck stuck in the mud due to extremely low water and no boat ramp. The lake had been falling constantly so the following day, even though the weather was favourable; I didn’t chance it because the lake was lower still and more mud would have been exposed. Since then the weather has kept me out of the hotspot. Last weekend my outboard broke down and by now I expect most of the fish which were hanging around the mouths will have ran up to spawn. Strike when the iron is hot or you will miss out!

Here are the highlights from last weekend on the water with Camo Guy..

Later all..   Ronan..

 

August on the Southern Lakes…

August 8th, 2012 No comments

My laptop has died, this time for good I think so I’m using a 15 year old computer to put this weeks report together. Not an easy task. To say it’s slow would be an understatement! It seems to be working however so I won’t jinx it..

Last weekend I had intended to fish Saturday and Sunday on one or 2 of the Southern Lakes. Friday night was a late one so I fished the second half of Saturday on Dunstan. It was very good! There were lots of fish moving and I had a few but they are still on the thin side. I have not encountered any rainbows out there so I’m guessing they are either out deep or up the river. I tried the sinking like on it without much success.

Saturday was different! I motored across a nearby lake (not Dunstan!) to try some totally new water. I got to an area with a small river flowing in and some dead trees sticking out of the lake. The water here is cristal clear which makes the drop offs clearly evident. I started with a clear intermediate line and a woolley bugger drifting along and over the drop-off. This gave me a good start but something was telling me go deeper, so I did. Much deeper in fact. I used a Di7 line from Airflo which is bacically a 40 foot superfast sinking shooting head on intermediate running line. I fished it with my 8wt tcx. The wind was idealy light so I could cover water but still have time to let my line reach depth. usually 10-20 foot. My technique is to cast it out about 25-30m, let it sink for various amounts of time then slowly (sometimes quickly!) retrieve it back to the boat. Some people recommend a short leader with a sinking line so that the fly quickly follows the fly line at whatever depth its at. I dont agree with this. I prefer a long leader and allow the first few retrieves to get the fly to the level (depth) of the fly line. A long cast is an advantage with this method because after the fly has reached the depth of the line you should still be far enough from the boat or back to prospect a lot of water. Also plenty fish take the fly as its diving to line level. The longer you can effectively keep the fly from the fly line the less fish you will spook. Takes from depth must be experienced to be believed. They are usually certain, clean and solid. On Saturday I hooked 12 and landed 12.

This is my first NZ winter in ten years so this fishing is basically new to me. I have just realised a type of fishing that consumes my thoughts. I want to on the water and no where else but I have to work. The world is all messed up. It should be 2 days work and 5 days fishing.

Ronan..

 

Dunstan Meet 2012.. and other news!

August 1st, 2012 No comments

I put a note of facebook last week suggesting that any anglers who would like to meet up for a day or 2 fishing should do so in Cromwell. On Friday night last, Quentin, James, and Jeff drove up from Invercargill.  Carl arrived from Wanaka (a bit late!) on Saturday morning and all six of us hit the lake. Carl and I took my boat out and after a few miss starts we were away!

Fishing was slow but after a couple of quiet hours we found a few fish cruising over shallow sand flats. We abandoned the boat to make the best of the opportunity. Woolley Buggers only inspired follows but size 16 midge patterns worked well. In one hour I hooked 4 and landed 2, Carl hooked a few and Mike who was not far away also landed 2 and I expect hooked a few more also. Quentin, James and Jeff also had some decent action where ever they were.

All in all it was a good day out. I’ve known Carl for years but this is the first time we fished together. I hope we can get a few more days on the water in the coming season and the remainder of this one. I expect Carl will want to even up the 3-0 score card for the day anyway! :)

On Sunday it was just Jeff and I fishing. The wind was strong, very strong at times and this completely knocked out the sight fishing. We tried blind fishing the sand flats where the fish were the day before with buggers and this produced 2 hook ups and 1 landed fish each. We tried lough style in the wave for 2 or 3 hours and amazingly this produced only one fish. I really expected more. Long drifts over a variety of depths between 1 and 8’ with varied lake bed from sand to silt to dense weed to not so dense weed and only one fish! In summer I expect the same tactic to take 15 to 20 fish for a day. Bring it on!

Carl put an Idea in my head on Saturday and it will be turned into reality. He suggested that I put a polling platform on the boat! Daltona can float on 5 or 6 inches of water, She’s wide and very stable and low to the water which makes her a great flats boat (with the engine up obviously). Watch this space! Frankly I can’t wait. The spotting potential from a raised platform has to be huge. Bring this on too! Yea!

And finally some good news. The Around the Mountain Trail which was set to severely and irreversibly detract from the scenic beauty, the serenity and the quality of fishing in the Oreti Valley has been denied. Not completely unfortunately. Permission has been granted for the track to go ahead below Oreti road. Not perfect but a good result none the less. To all the anglers and non anglers who submitted in opposition, attended and or spoke at the hearing, wrote to the Southland Times, wrote to your MP’s, whatever. This is a good result for us and all anglers and indeed everybody who wants to use and enjoy the Oreti Valley just the way it is.

This weekend Daltona and I will fish Hawea or Wanaka I think! Anyone keen?

The Lough Inagh system and Kylemore Lough and river in Connemara, Co. Galway Ireland are fishing really well. Google them for info!

Ronan..

Tailing & midging in the depths of an Otago Winter…

July 17th, 2012 No comments

Mike Wilkinson and I spent the day on one of our local waters on Sunday. I went to the right and Mike to the left so for the most productive part of the day we didn’t see each other at all. This often happens when flyfishing and in a way you have the best of both worlds when it does. One the one hand, you fish alone at your own pace taking as much time as you want with each challenge and opportunity the day brings, while on the other hand you know you will catch up with your fishing partner later in the day to compare notes and have the craic.

There were quite a few fish moving on Sunday probably due to the unseasonably mild conditions. Some were rising but most were tailing with their heads buried so deep in the weeds that getting them to see my fly was a real challenge. The wolley bugger inspired a few chases and one landed fish but “figure of eighting” a couple of Joe Creane’s nymphs accounted for more hook ups but still only one more landed fish.

Fish have been midging on the calm evenings. I had a look after work today but it was too windy. I finish work at 5 and its dark at 6 so my fishing window is tight! However the days are getting longer and the lake is close by.

Any calm evening over the next few days I’ll be on the water into twilight…

Ronan.. Stuntman/Joiner (CI/Fishing host by appointment!)

 

 

New Zealand Winter Fishing…

June 6th, 2012 No comments

Snow is falling over much of the south island right now so it’s clear that Winter is well and truly here. Queenstown woke to a fresh, frosty morning with some snow on the ground. I got up and prepared a hearty beef and venison stew and left it simmering in the slow cooker. With dinner taken care of I had a substantial breakfast of bacon, eggs and beans and then went fishing. The Kawarau River is open all year round so I decided to give it a try. It’s a big river and I have not cracked it yet. I went to a spot where a small river flows in and had one great fish on a woolly bugger fished deep on a slimeline. I didn’t spend long on the water. It was freezing cold, I didn’t see any fish, frankly I didn’t want or need to be on the water all day. I left happy with my lot and went to another part of the river to get some firewood. A few minutes with the chainsaw and I had enough for 2 nights free warmth. Before I went home I caught up my friends Mike and Raywin over a beer. It’s important to stay in touch with your friends! I got home to a perfectly cooked stew and got the fire cranking….