fly fishing NZ 2019

skull

Yikes, that was brutal! Don’t know if I want to do that again. Tough trip. Dry-flies blowing upstream! Tough low-light conditions for sight-fishing. A lot of walking. Many days it was just a long hard slog: 10 miles plus. And in spite of our effort few fish were spotted. There simply weren’t that many opportunities. I think I averaged less than one quality chance per day. I saw less fish than in past seasons. Terrestrial fishing was almost non-existent.  Maybe the summer just wasn’t consistently hot enough in the regions that I fished? The angling was best when the sun was out. However, “blue sky” days were rare. Most of the time it felt more like winter than summer. In the end, I caught a few good brown trout on dry flies. Four of the best were spotted on a high plateau river that I’ve fished in the past. It is “known” water but receives less angling pressure than some of the other rivers I was on. Here are some photos…

lastone

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lastfish1

 

windshop

most days water had a wind-shop

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rare still morning

ahurir 8

backeddy

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5trees

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morning

 

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roman

roman throwing line

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pairs

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ahurir13

grasses

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roman in the wind

lift

top

 

girth

 

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ahurir3

shadow1

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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the riffles

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a riffle trout

When looking for rising trout I watch the flat water river sections first. That’s where they are easiest to spot. If there is no activity then I search the riffles. Trout in this location are much more challenging to find due to the water being broken and faster. Throw in river glare and spotting can be especially daunting. So I focus on very shallow sections. Often  water just six inches to one foot depth. Large trout feeding sub-surface in very skinny water occasionally break the surface, and therefore make noise and notify you that they are around. Sometimes it’s barely perceptible above the constant sound of the flowing water. But you get good at hearing it. You just have to stay in one place for a while and listen. Large trout in the shallow riffles also push or displace water as they intercept nymphs and emergers, and occasionally rise for a dun. Their feeding can disturb and slightly change the riffle surface pattern. Again, almost imperceptible. You have to concentrate and watch the water to notice. It’s all subtle. You have to observe and concentrate…kind of the key to learning and becoming a better fly angler or really a better anything.

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riffles

The trout in these ultra-shallow areas can often be enticed to take a dry-fly or a dangling emerger pattern. On my broad local tailwater river fish hooked in the riffles sometimes have to sprint 40, 50, 60 yards before they get to the main deeper flow. Thrilling first runs. Thrilling stuff.

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simple dangling fly, black wing for glare

Of course an angler can fish the riffles blind by swinging a streamer or prospect with a nymph below a strike indicator, or below a big dry-fly. These can be effective ways to cover these bumpy areas and catch trout.

I find spotting them first before casting, however, requires all of your senses and observation skills, and the practice further develops and hones your angling abilities. A decade ago I would have walked by the riffle stretch I fished this past Sunday afternoon and spotted nothing. It’s the same now as it was then…but now I see (and hear) more.

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trout in riffles

 

Pale Duns

In the evenings trout are showing themselves by feeding just subsurface (bulging) and a few on top. The best summer time may fly hatch is underway: Pale Morning Duns (PMD’s). I’m finding some fish in areas where the drifting may flies collect…big back eddies and smaller slow swirls. I’m seeing fewer rising fish on the slow flats and on current edges as bug density is still not high. Here’s one of the nicer rainbows spotted rising the other evening…

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clear water

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leaving the river

lime city

Old limestone kilns.

What does this have to do with fly fishing? My region has a lot of limestone and cold running water. Ideal trout habitat. The Crowsnest river and its large rainbows are nearby.

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