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
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,
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.