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Ronan's Report » Trophy trout

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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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A Couple of Doubles…

November 29th, 2016 No comments

I wanted to explore some new water with the intention of locking in a backcountry day-trip for my guiding business. Looking at the map I expected the walk to take about 60 – 90 minutes so I set off. A recent heavy snow storm had brought down a lot of trees and limbs making the going difficult. A lot of the walk along the very rough track turned into bush-bashing, climbing, D tours and loosing the track from time to time. The walk to the river ended up taking me 3 hrs. I knew almost nothing about the river only that the bottom few pools were quite good. On arrival I noticed a kayak in one of the bottom pools, then another… then shitloads. About 30! There was no point fishing the lower pools. I walked up river to find a chasm rising to about 100 feet above the river. I went to the top and pushed along the side looking through a 2m gap spreading out into the river way below. It was too dangerous and slippery so I bailed out and try to skip above it away from the edge. That was tough going! I went back to the track which was going away from the river. I had no idea if the “track” would even take me back to the river so I gave up. I walked the 3 hours back to where I started having not made a cast. On arrival back at the truck I took a drink of water and then walked down the river I was parked beside. I walked down about 2ks to fish back to the truck. When I got to the bottom I cursed myself for not fishing it down with a streamer as the wind started howling into my face. I fished it up regardless with my dry dropper rig catching or seeing nothing. It was one of those days; nothing working out. The truck was in sight and I was happy to call it a (bad) day. Then, looking into a big pool I saw a fish. “Fuck me, that’s a big fish” I thought. I climbed down to get into position, slipped and landed hard on my back. My pack and net took the fall and I was unhurt. I popped a plastic bottle in my bag and bent my net! The fish was still there. I had on of Stu’s weighted nymphs under a dry with a size 16 trailer. I made about 4 casts before the dry went down and I lifted into some serious weight. 7 maybe 8lbs I thought. She bolted down river and I thought “foul hooked” but then I felt the head shakes. “Hmm, not foul hooked, must be big” Then she decided to swim right across in front of me. I knew it had to make 10lbs. I moment later I got my chance and stuck her in the net. 10.25lbs. I can’t tell you just what that fish meant to me. Utter elation. I sat on the bank and enjoyed the moment for quite some time before heading home with a grin from ear to ear.

More recently I had the please of guiding Mark Warminger onto a fish of a lifetime.We went hard all day, A cloud sat above the valley floor for most of the day making sighting difficult. We had a couple of shots and one lost fish (a big one) before seeing a really big fish late in the day. Mark made no mistake with his casting. Neat presentations meant the fish remained feeding undisturbed but did not want our fly. I made a few changes before deciding on a tiny, super-skinny, unweighted #16 nymph fresh of the vice that morning. Marks first cast with this fly trailing off a weighted nymph; the dry checked… I called the strike almost second guessing the call… The rod bent! After a strong fight the very large fish was readying himself to bolt down a long, fast run. This could mean disaster.. I got myself into position, when the fish hit the chute, I jumped in, arm and net outstretched to intercept him. The  interception worked and he went into my net! One of my best guiding moments, maybe the best! One of Marks best days ever… 10lbs.. Oh yea!

It needs to be said though, double figure trout do not come easy in NZ. In my 15 seasons and about 1500 – 2000 days I have landed 6. Marks fish was my first guided double. If you want to target really big fish in NZ you must be prepared to blank. However, if you succeed, the reward is fantastic!

Once again, finding time to write is getting tough so I’ve just picked out the 2 main events since my last blog! There have been many others which I hope to share with you soon. My dad is here right now too so any day I’m not guiding we fish together. We’re loving it! He’s doing great, making the most of the lakes while many rivers in the area are still high and dirty after the worst spring ever. Gales and rain were the norm all month but it looks like its starting to ease up.. I hope!

Tight Lines All,

Ronan..

If you’d like to get in touch about guided fly fishing in the lower South Island, check out my website www.ronansflyfishingmissions.com