April has arrived and that spells the last month of the season for many waters here in New Zealand. Fortunately a lot of the mountain waters remain open until the end of May to give me some more fishing time! I have to make up for the 6 weeks lost with the broken foot afterall.
Weekend 1 saw a two day trip to a backcountry river. The drive there was pretty spectacular, the sun was high in the sky and it was warm. Typical that we were driving and not fishing that day. Myself, Char, Tay and Pete arrived at the river in darkness and spent 4 hours hiking up the track in the dark. It’s not too much of an issue as a well established tramping track follows up the valley. A few open land crossings took longer than expected thanks to limited visibility but we got there in the end. The following morning we were greeted by great weather again and good fish. First fish was about 6lbs, Char was up. He cast perfectly and the fish just gently swerved out the path of his flies. A few fly changes and an angler change, me, still yielded no results. Oh well, next one. Unfortunately this contiunued for each of the 8 or so fish I spotted – I was really annoyed. No matter what the approach they all had the exact same response. For the afternoon we split up, I went upstream with Char, Tay and Pete decided to go downstream. Result for the rest of the day was Char had a 2lb brown to the nymph and I was broken off by a brown about 4 or 5lbs on the dry. Pete was also broken off later that night by a much bigger fish. That evening we were approached by the DOC ranger in the valley and were informed why the fishing was totally buggered. He had fished friday, in the great weather I mentioned, and extracted 8 fish from that particular section of river. Angling pressure is one thing that kills your fishing like nothing else. The trip was left on a bit of a downer, good fish spotted but all had been caught or fished over the day before.
This weekend just past was supposed to be the corrector trip that was to bring fish. It wasn’t. The first day there were 5 of us, split into a group of 3 and a group of 2. We covered 10km of this particular river in brilliant weather and not a single fish was spotted, it was truly devoid of trout. That minor hiccup wasn’t going to upset me as I was heading into another remote mountain river for 2 days; the forecast was good and expectations were right up there also. I hiked in 13km on Saturday in brilliant sunshine, found a feeding fish, cast to it, it came to inspect the fly and turned away at the last moment. That’s when I realised the fly had twisted the leader really badly and bunched it all up at the fly. Dammit. One fish lost, onto the next one I thought. I went a wee bit further up the valley, turning a corner where the valley opened out and a howling gale was blowing straight downstream. I couldn’t believe it, it had been calm the whole way up. The wind was strong to the extent I could not put the line in front of me. I turned and hiked the 13km out making it back about 30mins after total darkness fell. It was some 16 mile hike, absolutely gorgeous in fact, too bad the fishing let me down. I broke my rod too, at least Orvis have the best guarantee in the business.
On the hike out, on the last section in darkness I was greeted by what quite frankly is my worst nightmare when fishing; bulls. I passed one on my left, not looking him in the eye but keeping a check on him in my peripheral vision. The track ahead bent to the left around a bush, I followed around and met an enormous black bull head on, face-to-face. I burst a nervous laugh of dis-belief as my heart raced and I wondered what the fuck I was going to do. I just retreated slowly and made my way around him. Luckily he seemed pretty dosile and didn’t care that I was there but man I was scared. I don’t like crossing with bulls at the best of times nevermind on my own in the dark. I survived though, that’s the important part!
The last day of my trip saw a bit of haphazard fishing plans, here and there on the way home. There aren’t that many good spots on my way home from that particular direction but I choose the fish a heavily populated river where the average size is not huge, about a pound or so. It was great fun. It was like fishing at home, the first I have done of that kind in NZ. The water wasn’t clear, the rise were rising all over and I was just targetting the risers having fast and furious action. It was a real let off from the pressure of stalking big fish as is the norm.
That brings me to the end of the weekends that failed to deliver. My camera should be getting replaced this week so will have photos again of future trips. We are planning a big trip into remote Fiordland to end the season on – well it might not quite be the end of the season if I can help it!