October got of to a wet but mild start. The trout in the backcountry were a little lean I felt but in amongst the catch were some really good quality fish. Going into November there were consistent hatches of large Add to Colorbrisus and Add to Onisagaster mayflies at around 11am most days. Some great dry fly action was had and most clients were happy with the surface activity.
December and January unfortunately saw a continuation of the spring weather patterns. Strong winds and lots of cloudy and windy days meant that a lot of the smaller waters were being hit day after day because of high water in the bigger rivers. This made the trout in those smaller waterways much more wary.
The Kingfish turned up in early January as expected but the number of days they were present on the Collingwood flats was limited because of low water temps. On the right days however the fish were present and modest numbers were taken by some skilled and observant anglers. The tagging program that was initiated for this season was a great success with more than 50 kingfish tagged and released by myself and Alex. There were 4 recaptures that I unofficially know about. It will be very interesting if a few of the fish tagged this year will turn up next year.
February saw the beginning of my combination trips of catching trout and kingfish. These were pretty successful with all clients catching kingfish and trout. Some anglers were able to even catch 6 kingfish in a day. One particular day 14 kingfish were even caught!
The cicada season started late and was still quite patchy. Some rivers however fished very well but some were a bit of a let down. I experienced one red letter day on a helicopter campout trip where 15 fish were landed on one cicada fly in a single day… I let the client keep that one.
The end of the season has seen a lot of smaller fish taken and some very large fish hooked and lost. Two former tropical cyclones hit in mid April and these will no doubt reshape a lot of the holding water in the less stable rivers.
Overall the season was testing but many positives came from it. I learned many valuable lessons about not giving up until the last minute and having the confidence to try new things when times are tough. It was hugely rewarding knowing that on the slow days when few fish were spotted than my clients were hooking up with all but a few fish and landing most of them. Going forward into next season I am looking forward to see a few of my old friends and guiding some new ones. I feel that it is very encouraging that there were many smaller fish around this season as they will be our big trout in the next few seasons.