Spotting NZ trout is a bit of an art form in a funny way and some anglers become very adept at it, others do not. I often get asked how on earth did you spot that fish? You know sometimes I don’t even know! Many years of walking rivers and looking at water is a big chunk of it. If you don’t do it on a regular basis it is probably a wee bit more tricky.
Here are some of my tell tale signs for spotting NZ trout:
1. It’s an add on to the river….. I am looking first and foremost for something that is not quite right, a touch out of place. A bit like Sesame Street … this one’s not like the other one! I am never looking for a fish.
2. Movement ….. does it move? Yes, well then it’s a fish (unless it’s a bit of weed – this had me going a few weeks back thinking I had been spotting NZ trout). No, watch a minute or two and see if it does move. Still unsure, make a cast.
3. Shape ….. does it lie the right way? If it’s lying across the current flow it’s is not likely to be a fish although on the odd occasion I have seen large trout lying deep and appear to be sideways to the flow although where they were actually lying they are directly into the current at that depth i.e. an eddie pool.
4. Colour and flash ….. Not much really but rainbows especially can give themselves away with the red stripe but it pays not to use this as you will miss many that are not coloured up but it may help it some cases. Often fish can appear as a grey smudge in the water and you might see a flash as it turns to one side to feed.
5. Shadow…… A fish will cast a shadow from it to the bottom, using sunlight (if you have any) correctly helps.
6. Go slow, slower than you think ….. no slower still! Many anglers miss spotting opportunities just by walking too quickly.
7. Look into the water not at it …… good Polaroid glasses are key. I use Maui Jim
8. When necessary choose to have back drop. Great on cloudy grey days. Spot where you can and blind where you need too.
9. Know where to look …… Pool eyes are where most people see fish easily. Other likely spots include: lips and drop offs. Seams and bubble lines = food = fish. Structure …… rocks just behind or just in front, logs too. The outside of mild bends just on the seam and especially if the bank has little bays. The tail of pools just before the next rapid starts. Generally where the water is knee deep and has one or more of the above.
10. Shitty places to get to because of foliage or river structure ….. as the season goes on this can really be important.
These tips will get you seeing more trout and if you can see them you can catch more of them!
Summer is on the way so make sure to book your fly fishing expedition with me now!