After a very late start on day 1 of a 3 day camping/tramping fishing expedition due to there being multiple places in New Zealand with the same name (3pm rather than 9pm) we managed to hit the river around 4pm. The bottom section up to our first campsite – some distance shorter of the original plan – provided only two fish for us – 1 around 4 pounds and a smaller one around a couple of pounds on the evening rise. This was despite seeing countless brownies grubbing around in the shallower riffly tails of the pools with the tails and dorsel fins half out of the water – spotting them wasn’t difficult – catching them was!After a good meal of sausages over an open fire in the evening and a bottle of bourbon we retired for the day/night, mentally preparing for some great fishing the next day.
Day 2 started early with porridge and a cuppa before hitting the river again around 8am. We fished our way up to my normal starting position by 11am to find that two other fishermen had passed as around the outside on the track and were fishing 100m ahead of us! Needless to say plan B was put into action and after a further hour and a halfs hiking we arrived at the top camping site where very few people get to. Normally we would have arrived at the river at around 10am and started fishing from where we saw the other fishermen by around 11am and fish to 5pm before making our way to the top camp spot for the next two nights! We started fishing around 1 pm and quickly spotted a good 8lb plus rainbow. The fish closely examined our cicada and then went back to nymphing. By the time I had set up the nymph rod the creature had dropped back behind us and was no longer able to be fished to from where we were standing – fortuntaly we spotted a smaller one just ahead which obligeing took our offer of a H & C and came to the net at around 6 and a half pounds – the day was saved but not over! Following on from this we hooked and landed and lost a total of 9 for the afternoon including 1 on the evening rise, the smallest around 4 and a half pounds and the rest all over 5 pounds, probably averaging 6 pounds and loosing 1 monster definetly 8lbs plus but possible even around 10lbs. Didn’t land her as she blew Mike away after an Epic battle that ended under a tree branch around a rock. Dinner was around 9pm again over an open fire and we hit the sack ready for an early start again.
Day 3 started with our smallest fish for the top section at around 3 pounds out of the 1st pool. Followed by a bust off 50m ahead by a fish we had cast to and spooked the day before. Next Mike was bust by a ballistic 6 pounder in the dry fly pool. Then came a short hookup which didn’t hook well. Then several more bust offs and quite a bit of site fishing as conditions were good and the fish easy to see. By 1am when we started are walk back Mike had hooked 7 and been blown away by all but 1. In fairness the landing ratio was not down to anything but dirty tactics by the fish. Mike was a fantastic fisherman with a great cast and good mending skills despite originally claiming to have not done much nymphing for a while. After walking down the hill back to the river – an hour this time as easy going down hill – we stopped for a half way break where we had encountered the other fishermen the day before – and had a quick fish for an hour. Mike had 5 takes, 1 bust off and landed 2 browns, mainly site fishing dries. The biggest was around 5 pounds. After a quick swim and a good feed of blackberries we got back to the car around 6pm and headed for home – exhausted by happy!
H & C in sizes 10 & 12 were the winning nymph with Burgin Sawyers hooking none for a change. Mainly unbeaded but a few on black Tungstens. A lot of Nesameletus shucks so could have been the target otherwise caddis.