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Posts Tagged ‘Otago Fly-Fishing’

Flood Damage!

December 26th, 2018 No comments

The river became fishable for the first time in 2 months. It was a gamble to go there but I took a chance on it because last years floods were bigger and did no damage. The difference with this years floods is that they’ve been so prolonged. At first glance the river looked okay so we walked an hour downstream to fish back. On arrival the river looked different. Straightened, pools and islands gone. I said to Philip that I thought I had made a mistake. Trout are very resilient to flooding but when a river changes course then fish have to be displaced. Where they end up is anyones guess. We saw a fish in the second pool which Philip hooked, raising our spirits. Then nothing. The river was unrecognisable. One of the best pools on the river had been all but destroyed. There was a small section that remained unchanged and in there were 2 or 3 trout which quickly spooked. We saw one other in the beat. We were through the whole section in a few hours and then retreated to plan B. A tributary which I hoped would not have been so badly affected by the floods. We saw a fish at the bridge which we didn’t get. Then not far up we saw another which we did get on a small nymph. There was another beside him so things were looking good but the river was obviously ravaged by floods. Uprooted trees strewn over vast areas of river plain. After a positive start the damage became more and more apparent and we saw no more fish. I was almost ready to pull the pin but thought we’d go another bit. I was looking for a great pool. Very stable so I expected it would still be there. It wasn’t! Blown out totally. We marched on, not keen on giving up just yet as stubbornness kicked in. One great pool that I had forgotten about was unchanged and we sighted 2 fish in it. If Philip hooked one, he was going to spook the other so we had to pick one. Philip got into position for the lead fish. A bow and arrow cast was the only option. Philip had never successfully used that cast before so was keen to make it work. A number of shots went in before the trout saw the worm fly. The take was hard to see for sure but I called the strike and the fish was on. A fish like that can really turn a day around. By then it was around 5pm so we decided it was a good time to call it a day. I was delighted with the result considering the state of the rivers. Three hooked, 2 landed and had a few other good opportunities. We happily walked back to the truck. Of course we had to see if the bridge fish was back out and as luck would have it, he was! Philip got into position and this time nailed the cast first time and got the fish. Three rainbows between 4 and 5 lbs for the day. A great day on any trout river but I won’t be rushing back; it was quite heartbreaking to see some of my favourite water ripped to bits. I’m not sure how long it’ll take those rivers to heal.

On a more positive note, I finally got back to Southland after flooded rivers kept me away for about 2 months. A few tough days just as the rivers cleared but then we had a few days where everything was right. As luck would have it I was fishing myself while guiding on 2 of those days. Very fulfilling fishing with a great fishing partner. He came through Sexyloops so he’d have to be! His SLHT is well and truly broken in.. Thanks, Alan..

Tight Lines All and a Happy New Year!

Ronan..

 

What Defines a Trophy Trout?

April 22nd, 2018 No comments

When we think of trophy trout many of us think about the elusive 10lber. Clearly a trout of this size in NZ is a trophy but there’s more to consider. Rainbow trout live about half as long as a brown trout making it much harder for them to reach 10lbs in weight in a natural, wild environment. I have never caught a 10lb plus rainbow. I have landed at least 3 of over 8lbs which I believe to be trophies. From my own experience, I would equal a 10lb brown to an 8lb rainbow. It may be more relevant to say that a trophy trout is relative to the fishery. Anyway, I’ve gone away from the point I had intended to make. There is another trophy trout available in NZ. I think the ultimate prize is not only a very big fish but a very beautiful one too. I think that the odds of catching a big and a beautiful fish are stacked against you, so it’s okay to reduce the “trophy” weight a little! On a recent 5 day trip with my friend and client, Marcus, we got one of those. It was the last fish landed out of 24 for the trip! The scenario was interesting. We were deep in the backcountry and time was running out. We got to a pool and there were 4 visible trout. Mostly around 5lbs but one was clearly bigger than the rest. Certainly 7 plus. I know this section of river to hold some of the most stunning late season trout I’ve seen and I really wanted Marcus to catch one of those. We both agreed, go straight for the big one even though doing this would most likely spook the rest. Marcus sent in a good shot and the fish ate but no hook up. The fish stayed happily in position so he tried again with no response from the trout. I made a number of fly changes with no joy. The other fish were getting a little agitated but generally pretty happy – then I spotted a new arrival to the pool glowing with striking orange colouration. Marcus had seen him moving from the left side of the pool to the right, I missed that but as soon as I saw the fish I knew he had to be our number 1 target. He maybe looked a little smaller than the big one but these orange browns are unique to this river. I’ve been lucky enough to land a few over the years. Our attention moved to him. He ate the first nymph Marcus cast to him but didn’t stick. A few casts later the trout decided to move around the pool passing right under Marcus, eyeballing him as he went.. I passed him my streamer rod before the fish left the pool. Sometimes a spooked fish will still eat a streamer. Marcus sent in the shot, strip strip strip and the trout nailed it! The battle was chaotic including me nearly falling into a deep hole of swift water in my attempt to net the fish. Thankfully the fish stayed on and we landed him downstream a short while later. A truly spectacular trout – he hit the scales at just under 8lbs. One I wont forget. The photo I got does him some justice but it was hard to get a great shot in the low light of the gorge. A trophy trout? You decide!

This blog brings me up to date with my guiding escapades. I’d like to give an account of all the days out but the photos and captions will have to do! I’m loving the evolution of my guiding career. More and more repeat business, forging great friendships with those I guide, more multi-day trips, fewer Queenstown pick-ups. Next season is filling up incredibly quickly so please get in touch if you’d like to lock in a trip.

I managed lots of time to fish myself in the last 2 months so my next blog will be about that.. Some big / beautiful fish, fishing with dad, Robbie, Jeff, Kota etc.. I’ve also started doing a little editing again. I have 3 short films on Vimeo. Here are the links..

Willow Grubbing https://vimeo.com/265928287

Fishing with Dad and Shotgun Kevin https://vimeo.com/264378584

In the Gorge https://vimeo.com/263071289

Thats all for now.. Still plenty spaces in May! For bookings and information contact me on ronan@sexyloops.com or visit my website http://www.ronansflyfishingmissions.com

Tight Lines,

Ronan..

Five Days With Marcus..

 

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The Elusive, Almost Mythical 10lb Brown Trout…

October 20th, 2015 No comments

During a mission to North Canterbury with Jeff Forsee at the end of last season, I witnessed something that made me re-think what I thought I knew. Jeff was onto a fish on his bank, a big one. The fish was deep. Jeff persisted with a range of weighted nymphs until he had the heaviest one in his box on, with the little trailer off it. He felt he was not getting deep enough so he pulled out a box of split shot and added some weight, then a little more weight. I’m not sure just how much shot he added but eventually he hooked the fish. A long battle was ensued but we finally got it into the net. That fish was one of the most spectacular fish I’ve seen and it turned out to be Jeff’s personal best. Afterwards, I thought to myself “would I have caught that fish?”. The answer, probably not. I had no split shot and my heaviest nymph was the same as Jeff’s. The only time I ever used shot was in Croatia years ago because of their single fly policy. I thought I had no need for it. I remember Paul Arden talking about split shot for early season NZ fish. I simply thought “just tie a heavier nymph”, which is true but split shot is handy, quick and easy to add and there’s no limit to how much you can put on (within reason!). I had to see this in action to really see the value of it. Shortly after that trip I got some split shot.

Recently, in Otago, about half way through a great day, I sighted a large trout happily feeding. He was moving from shallow to deep water feeding constantly. After a number of careful casts the fish became aware of my presence. He went a little doggo but then continued to feed, this time in deep water only. This gave me a great and rare advantage. The fish continued to feed despite my presence. I could not spook him easily so I cast and cast and cast. As long as a fish is feeding he’s catchable so I persisted. I put on my heaviest nymph, then added lead, then more lead. The river was boiling and up-welling making it hard to get even a heavily weighted rig down, but once in a while, as Robbie pointed out, the current went “clean”, no up-welling. At one of those moments I placed the cast in the right place and the added weight got my fly into the zone. The fish ate. I knew It was a big fish, I’ve caught lots of 9s and this felt just plain heavier. I gave him stick none the less and eventually landed him with Robbie’s help on the net. There were a few unnerving moments as he went under banks and around rocks but we landed him. 10lbs on the dot (Though Robbie thinks he was more, despite the weigh-net!). Thanks, Jeff for the lesson in lead and Robbie for the help landing one of my personal best brown trout.. Finally we cracked a double together!

Tight Lines All..

Ronan..

If your planning a trip to NZ, why not get in touch with me! I’m available to guide and happy to answer any questions you may have.. ronan@sexyloops.com