Lake Dunstan has always been an amazing fishery. I remember my good friend John O Malley catching 18 from the grassy bank one afternoon, I’ve had numerous days on the silt catching big numbers of fish, I never cracked the 20 but very close. It has always had a lot to offer in the way of different types of water; silt, weedbeds, flats, willows, moving water, still water, shingle, stalking the edges, blind fishing, buzzer fishing, etc.. The one variable that always affected a fella’s chances of success is the water height. The lake fishes best when it’s full. In the past, the power company controlling the water, Contact Energy, seemed to hold the lake at the same height for a number of days. If it was full it was likely to stay full for a while. During those days if the lake went flat calm the trout activity on the surface had to be seen to be believed. It simply came alive with fish. This season a change has been made that has reduced Dunstan to about half (at best) the fishery it was. The lake is dropped about half a meter every day leaving the top of the lake largely void of water. Usually it’s high in the morning and you have until about lunchtime to make hay! There are some options when the lake is low but the top end of the lake, the best bit by far, is now pretty much unfishable from the bank in the afternoons. The other sad thing which can only be due to the “tide” I believe, is that when the lake goes flat calm there are only about 10% of the fish moving on the surface compared to pre “tide” days. I suppose nothing can be done, I don’t expect Contact Energy will change anything for the relatively few fly-fishermen who enjoy the top end of the lake. Dam shame.
Thankfully there are still plenty great lakes in NZ. Most people come to NZ to fish the rivers (and why wouldn’t they?!) but the lakes are certainly worth a look too. In times where the rivers may be high and coloured, or low and warm the lakes will remain fishable and reliable. I fish them because I love them, and not necessarily because the rivers are off form. Iza and I recently had a day one one of the central lakes where we landed 18 for about 5 hours on the water. We weren’t seeing any on the edges so we waded out to deeper water and blind fished over weeds and whatever feature we could see. I fished my fathers method of “figure of eighting” a couple of nymphs while Iza used a tried and trusted bugger! Both did well and the fish were magnificent. Mostly reel screaming rainbows.. Give it a try!!
More recently Robbie, Mike and myself took on a favourite piece of water of mine. Mike had never fished it. It’s always great to share something fantastic with a person whom you know will appreciate it. We had 2 days, one big day in a gorge and one on slightly easier farm terrain. Both days proved great even with adverse conditions on day one. We wanted a grey day with diffuse light so as not to cast any shadows into the pools in the tree lined gorge. We spooked a good few fish because we simply could not see into the water with the contrasting shadows! Interestingly, its not always a blue sky day you need for spotting fish! There were a few highlights from the trip. I’ll mention the best one, it was watching Mike (I want to say this in a diplomatic way but fuck it) skulldrag his personal best brown out of the river! For some reason he had the drag on his Abel reel set up for GT’s or something. After hooking the fish on a well presented nymph all hell broke loose into an aerial battle. Mike met hell with hell and didn’t give an inch. Honestly, I don’t know how something didn’t give. 10.7lb tippet and Robbies nymph tied on a strong hook would have helped. The fish toppled Mike into the river twice during the fight but Robbie was there to drag him out again. After the battle we got the fish into the net.. he went 8.5lbs. The following day Robbie managed one almost the same size on a cicada he tied ten years ago. A very different fish she was, built like a brick shithouse. We all landed plenty fish over the 2 days including some really stunning fish. You’ll see when you get to the photo’s below! After day one in the gorge we were all pretty wiped out, back to the cabin afterwards where I cooked up steaks for the men! A little wine and a fire in the stove soon put me snoozing in my chair.
I’ve been very busy guiding since my last blog which is why this blog has once again taken so long to put out! I’m loving the job. As Paul say’s, Its like fishing yourself. Certainly, I get a lot from a days guiding that I get from a day fishing myself. The rest of March and April are pretty quiet so if your planning a trip to NZ and want a guide then drop me an email! The cooler March days have certainly improved the fishing. Check out the gallery below of some of this seasons guiding highlights!
Until next time, Tight Lines and Screaming Reels!!
GUIDING GALLERY- Some recent highlights
PERSONAL FISHING GALLERY- The Photos From Above..
A COUPLE OF YOUTUBE FILMS FROM HAPPY CLIENTS.
THE PISCATORIAL POT FACEBOOK PAGE
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