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Ronan's Report » Guided fly-fishing in Otago

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Shallow Water Tactics & Guiding Highlights…

April 5th, 2016 No comments

I went exploring some still waters recently, 3 in total, none of which I had fished before. I found fish in each one though some were so spooky they were damn near impossible to get a shot to. Even when I managed what I thought to be a perfect presentation they fecked off! When the clouds rolled in on that one I fecked off too. I’ll be back for another round when the conditions permit. As luck would have it I was on a dirt track that I had never been on before to fish that lake. As I followed my nose back to tar seal I stumbled upon a multiple acre, quite deep looking lake I had never seen or heard of before. I hopped the fence and went for a look. Iza was with me which was a good thing because she spotted a trout that I missed! I took a quick shot which landed a bit too heavily and the fish went away. Annoyed at myself for my bad cast Iza and I walked the shore. I spotted a rainbow which had many looks at my dry and nymph but he never took the fly. It was getting late so we ventured back down the shore towards the truck. I was keeping an eye where the first fish was sighted and luckily it was back. This time my cast was right. The fish cruised at pace to the dry but went straight passed it and picked up my large nymph hanging under it. The dry was ripped through the surface film and the aerial battle was on! Everything about that fish was extremely satisfying, from getting a second chance to the fantastic take to the golden prize in the net.

The last of the 3 still waters held very few trout but I managed to hook and land one of the better ones I saw. This one took a little pheasant tail suspended just above the silt about 2 foot down. Another very satisfying fish! With some simple tactics these flat calm still waters are not as tough as you may think. A nymph suspended under a dry is the best general approach. You can leave it out there and wait for the fish to find it. A single nymph or spider is another great method but requires quite a bit more skill and experience to fish it properly. Accurate casting and timing is essential here because your casting to a cruising trout. You must place the fly far enough in front of the fish so that by the time he gets to it, the fly is not on the bottom (though this works for another method, letting the fly sink to the bottom and moving it when the fish comes into range). Landing the fly close enough to the fish so that he hears the plop is a good thing, he’ll often come to investigate the plop and eat the fly. Too close to the fish the plop will spook him, too far away and it’s ineffective. You need to know the sink rate of your fly, I generally add a turn of lead or two to break through the surface film but not sink like a stone. The advantage of the single nymph or spider above a dry-dropper is that you can move the fly into the trout’s path should he change direction. You cant generally do this with the dry-dropper because the skating dry will usually spook the approaching trout.  A single dry can also be useful. I’m not holding back information by not naming flies, the flies don’t matter. Small and sparse is best! Trout Hunter 4.5x nylon has been useful for calm water this season, both river and lake. It’s a great compromise between sturdy 4x and dangerously fine 5x. It has incredible strength with a wind knot in the cast! Check it out..