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Picture of the Day
Te Anau

For the first time in 15 years Southlanders are praying for the rain, lake levels approaching record lows, rivers to the bare bones and water temperatures reaching extreme highs. Temps in the 30s very common in Invercargill, a place reknowned for ugly women, wind and driving rain.

The upper Waiau rarely fails to provide a good day, even to the less experienced angler, but of late, even local guides are shunning the water. To have the river for yourself, the boat ramp empy and a lack of footprints on the beaches tells the story.

Last month, the birds were gorging on the Kakahi queen -almost the size of the mayfly Danica Danica and easy to represent. A catch of 15-20 fish between 3-6lb would be the norm and involves no rocket science ---or does it?

During the heat wave of the last couple weeks nothing on the river stirred, no birds, fly life or rising trout, almost as if the river was dead. Could the hot upper layer of water be too much discomfort for trout to rise--seems as if the insects also refused this warm layer.
My approach was the double nymph with no luck, I knew they were down amongst the trout but no takers--were the trout asleep? small or large, no response.

Left with plenty of time, seering heat and an option of a cold beer, the decision to plod on was taken. At this time of the year, the caddis hatch in the evening can be spectacular, if not distracting as they bounce in your face as dusk arrives-would a heavy stick fly work?

I tied on a size 8 heavy tungsten pheasant tail- the only large, heavy fly to match my thoughts and lobbed it a few metres above the sulking rainbows lying in deeper water. The reponse immediate as a bright 4lb rainbow came to the bank. The procedure repaeated 6 times in succession. But had the trout just come on the feed?--off with the pheasant tail, on with the dry and nymph combo--nothing, absolutely nil response. Ok, try the big Royal wulff-same result, back with the depth charge pheasant tail and out first cast comes no. 8.

Maybe not case proven, but 8 fish landed. Did the trout refuse to move up in the water to well tried and trusted paterns due to water temperature, did they refuse to smaller nymphs because I`d failed to match the non existant hatch, or had a little thought saved the day?

Moral of the story??--keep a record of your days, a diary. The obvious lesson being the Kakahi queen appears best in the cooler months, not to be relied on in the heat, and no, even with the Cicadas singing, they didn`t work either.

Edited by CamoGuy

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