Saturday, 4 February 2012

The Valley of Dreams.

As the fishing had been relatively difficult so far. Lewis suggested that it could be an idea to go and target a firm favourite river that he had fished in 2008 with good friend Alex Jardine (One of the founders of The Trout Trackers Project). This river was special and a place that the boys held close to there hearts as this river provided some of the best fishing that Alex and Lewis had ever experienced.

The river flowed through wide tussock farm land until breaking away from civilisation where it made its way deep in to the New Zealand Back Country. It was accessed by taking a 3 hours drive through a small dirt track that winded its way up high through a huge forest in Mauri territory. The kind of place that reminded you of films such as, 'The Wrong Turn or 'The Hills Have Eyes'. We found ourselves constantly telling each other' "Please don't breakdown".

Coming out the other end of the forest, there was a huge shy of relief. from there the road return to a tarmac surface and we followed the valley down to the small farming village
 where we parked up for the night to sleep before the big day ahead.

The next day we woke up early and things felt good. Driving a few kilometers down to a fishing access point we parked up and got ready to tackle up. Steve had suffered quite badly from lack of food and sleep and not to mention still dealing with jet lag. With that he decided to get a few more hours sleep.

Lewis carried on and went off upstream in search of a trout. A few hours went by and Lewis had managed to hook a fish or two but was unfortunate to loose both fish. It became apparent that even in the Gin-Clear water, the amount of glare on the surface of the water made fish spotting hard and having a friend to help spot and direct you on to your quarry was a key player in the success of catching fish.

By noon, Steve had managed to arise from his 5 star accommodation that Toyota had kindly provided and joined Lewis. Now having to sets of eyes made sighting a whole lot easier. Having the spotter viewing the fish from a height point such as the high banks up by the road side. It didn't take long before Lewis Guided steve onto a cruising Brown trout looking up in search of terrestrials (Land born insects blown on to the water from off the trees and scrubs in windy conditions). After a few rises from the fish Steve carefully presented the dry flies in sight of the trout and as sure as the fish took the naturals the trout slowly cruised over to the artificial and scooped it down.

                                              The Result Of A Carefully Presented Dry Fly.

                                      A Typical New Zealand Brown Trout In Pristine Condition.

                  Celebrating after a run around chasing an athletic New Zealand Rainbow Trout.

                                      Not A Huge Fish, But Certainly One Of The Fittest Fish.

                                       Surrounded by Green Hills and Stunning Surroundings.

From here the fishing just got better and better. Boosting the numbers, Lewis & Steve were now on a role catching many of the fish they sighted and getting a free work out from these hard fighting Trout that had us running up and down the river frantically, making 50-60 meter runs in one go, Boulder hopping from rock to rock trying to keep up with the fish so that they couldn't get their heads under a snag and break free. (pound for pound these fish were probably some of the hardest fighting trout we will ever come across).

This river had lived up to every word Lewis had hyped about it. And this is where the trip really began. But could this have set the bar to high for other rivers to live up to its reputation???

Day 2 New Zealand 2012 Tour

We had heard about a neighbouring Creek that was only 1km away from where we camping out that was similar to the stream we had fished the day before and again produced larger than average trout. The only difference to this small river being that it was spring fed making sight fishing much easier.

Unfortunately this river system had been affected by high levels of what was known as 'Blue-Green algue' so the fish appeared to be sitting hard to the bottom of the riverbed and unresponsive to any natural insect life floating past them and refusing any offering we presented over them.

As the day started to come to come to an end and the light began to fade we spotted the first sign of an active trout. It was a brownie around about 7-8lb, Sipping small emerging Mayflies from the surface film. Steve positioned himself 30 yards below the fish and carefully but slowly waded his way upstream inline of the feeding trout.

With a well precisioned cast, that landed 4ft above the fish, The trout slowly started to make it's assend up to the surface. With a sluggish lift of it's mouth, it broke the surface and sucked down the 'Deer Hair Emerger that Steve had tied. With a lift of the rod tip, the rod began to flex and to that, the fish responded with a big shake of the head and shot off upstream shrugging it's head back and forth.

After about 5 minutes of Steve running up and down the pool and a scoop of the net success was achieved with followed by a big grin as Steve's and my face lit up.

                               Success At Last. Steve With A 7lb Wild New Zealand Brown Trout.
Smiles all round as we capture the glory of catching the first trout of the trip.

As the day drew to a close, the boys felt happy with a sense of achievement and talked about the moment all the way back to the car. Good fishing, with good friends. After all thats the reason we go fishing.

Trout Tracker 2012 New Zealand Tour

After a long 2011 of saving and fantasizing about fly fishing in crystal clear water for large Brown Trout. The time has finally come. Lewis & Steve packed their bags to the Max and headed out on a long plane journey to the other end of the world.

Arriving in Auckland International airport 18th January at 3pm New Zealand time, Jet lagged but hungry to go in search of a nearby river to fish, the guys started to ask around for local knowledge.
But as much as fishing sounded like a great plan. We had to be practical and realistic. So it was over to one of the local car hire centers to find the cheapest reliable run around to set sail on our journey's. (Not that 'Cheap' and 'Reliable' are two words that can be used lightly when associated with vehicles now a days).

After a careful look we compromised with the dealer and drove off in our luxury 1997 Toyota Corolla sports car.

Leaving Auckland pretty much immediately and heading down to the more remote areas towards Lake Rotorua. Lewis knew of a small stream where it was possible to see and catch what every Freshwater fly fishermen dream of, A 'Wild Trophy Trout'. The stream was a narrow, over grown,  tea stained river that meandered its way through the township out in to woodland pastoral land, but was well known to the locals as a hot spot to catch double figured trout, both brown trout and rainbow trout. With a ratio of 70% Browns and 30% rainbows this highly regarded stream seemed like the perfect opportunity to seek out a trophy to start the trip off with a bang.

Wading our way up through the thick undergrowth trying to spot our quarry, we stumbled across a feeding brownie that was sat just below a fallen down tree trunk. Just as we had expected these fish weren't stupid. Making life as safe as possible for themselves by positioning themselves close to a nearby bolt hole or snag to make a quick escape from any predators or the enthusiastic Fly angler. Lewis suggested to Steve that he should try for this fish as this was Steve's first time in New Zealand so it would be a great high if he could hook a large brown as the first fish.

But Steve refused as he could see that the only point of entry was to lower himself into the deep pit below him, and as he was wearing chesty's this could be a problem if the water was to exceed the height of his waders. Whereby Lewis refused to believe that the water was that deep. So Lewis went for it. Lowing himself down off the bank, it was to his surprise when he dropped into the pit and his head was just about bobbing on the surface. Steve just laughed and said 'I told you' as Lewis was gasping at the coldness of the water as he tough wet wading would be a clever idea. But then again the surprises and the unknown are what makes fishing such a great thing.

And to top it off Lewis only went and hooked the smallest fish in the river (unseen to us) barely making half a pound the little rainbow swam irraticly around the pool and spook the brown trout he had originally intended on hooking. Great start :-D

After a few hours of spooking countless numbers of big trout that had been hiding under the banks and unhooking small rainbows that seemed to be the only fish willing to communicate with us we called it a day. But even though we didn't catch the fish we were intending to catch, it was still enjoyable and nice to see such a good head of big fish.