Back from a overnight fly fishing trip based from Lumsden in Southland New Zealand with big smiles on both my face and my client’s. We left Queenstown with weather reports indicating 2 days of extremely strong winds followed by heavy rain on the afternoon of the 2nd day.
Wind the curse and bane of fly fishing. If you have good casting technique and can double haul well you can fish into some pretty strong wind and still turn over the fly but when the wind is 120kph and gusting to 160kph most anglers will choose to wait the weather out. Not having this luxury I decided small streams off the main wind direction were the way forward and both days proved very successful with some great sight fishing using both dry flies and nymphs.
Day one saw 7 healthy trout to the bank, the largest being 7lbs and we missed another 3 or 4 by pulling the dry fly out of the open mouth of the fish – a bit early on the set. Most of these were downstream takes and can be much harder due to the extra amount of time required to wait before setting the hook – you have to wait until the trout has turned back upstream!
Day two put us on a mountain stream with gale force winds knocking trees down in the next valley over and thunder pealing lower down the valley making us be very wary of becoming lightening conductors – luckily the lightening was far enough away we never saw any flashes and could continue fishing for the whole day. We had managed to get the winds on our back due to the way the river turns around a corner and later when the rain arrived the wind dropped right away and of course the sandflies appeared as if by magic.
It was one of those absoultely fantastic days where the fish seriously on. We lost count after we had 20 to the bank, mostly rainbows between 3 and 4 lbs but the highlight was catching 4 brown trout that were in amazing condition as they had been eating mice. Easy to tell when they are so chunky for their length and have the classic red arse – the trade mark of the mouse eating trout. The last trout of the day a brownie resisted all attempts with more regular nymph and dry fly patterns but when we presented it large worm fly pattern it shot upstream (I thought spooked) about 6 feet and down went the indicator and a great battle ensued to land a very fat 7lb trout. Just goes to show that as this fish had been eating mice small food morsels were not going to be enough but a big one did the trick. A woolly bugger fished as a nymph would have probably done the trick too.
The rainfall yesterday has seen another good fresh through all the rivers which are now dropping back and there will be some good fishing in the lead up to Xmas. There is another front lining up the bottom of the South Island but after it passes a high is ridging in early next week for a couple of days before the next fronts arrive later in the week. Looks like Xmas might be wet down here.