Its been a really busy 12 months on the water guiding and fishing. I have enjoyed taking many people out to fulfill their dreams of large sighted fish on fly. This year we landed some fine brown and rainbow trout. The rivers were low and clear for the most part during summer which allowed us to target the fish that normally remain well hidden in the inaccessible parts of the river.
A highlight was the addition of rainbow trout to the catch. Normally the Nelson region is known for its fantastic brown trout. Over the last two years, Nelson/Marlborough Fish and game have been releasing Rainbow trout into some of our back country rivers. Some of these fish have weighed 8lbs or more! They fight hard and best of all they can be sight fished to in clear water with those classic “Lord of the Rings” backdrops.
On the saltwater front it was great to see so many Kingfish turn up on the flats. The season didn’t begin as early as it did the previous year but the numbers were good and the size was exceptional! Many fish were around the 1 meter mark! The fish were particularly hard to hook this year and often required a rethink of techniques. I was lucky enough to have guided several clients onto fish over 1 meter. One fish weighed in at 42lbs!
Looking ahead to next summer, it looks like its going to be a bumper year for brown trout. The condition on the late season fish was exceptional and the winter has had very few flood events and rumors are flying of an additional food source being available which could see some large fish caught.
Other highlights for me were the capture of my fish Grass Carp on fly and my first NZ Catfish. Grass Carp are a real challenge. They are very sensitive to vibrations and movements on the bank and a super hard to present a fly to. add to that, they are herbivorous and mostly eat vegetation.. It makes them a worthy challenge. The Catfish however fit in to the easy basket and are more fun than challenging. They are a pest throughout the lakes of the central North Island. Tokaanu wharf on lake Taupo is a prime spot to target these slimy little critters. If you want to do the fishery a favor then head on down with a wheelbarrow and fill it with Catfish. Its great fun for the kids and it helps to keep the numbers down. Catfish are competing with trout for habitat and food and are generally an unwanted pest.
So I look forward to getting out with my clients next summer and cant wait to have a crack at those early season browns. I wish you all a safe and warm winter and I cant wait to meet you out there.