Will Spry Fishing Report for Reel Life January 2019
Mackenzie Country Report
Summertime is well and truly upon us in the Mackenzie Basin, with long, hot sunny days and a bit of nor-west wind around to knock us all into shape! During the summer months, we have plenty of people around fishing, and lots of visitors from around the world enjoying the special fishing that New Zealand offers. It's always great to have a chat to our international visitors when we meet them on the river, as their perspective on the fishery is often quite different to our own, and can sometimes make us realise why people travel half-way around the globe to fish our beautiful rivers.
Of course, summertime also brings out the terrestrial insects. Grasshoppers, bugs, blowflies and cicadas. These are often much larger target food sources than the trouts' traditional fare and bring out in them, a different kind of feeding pattern. Fortunately for us, they are also a great draw for the fish and a hell of a lot of fun to fish to, with spectacular takes off the surface. Some tactics, however, are needed for fishing terrestrials. Fish the grassy banks along the margin. Usually being pretty close is enough, but if you find the inside feedline, which is often a lot slower than the main current, you'll be in even better shape. Two reasons for this; firstly, the trout will find cover from the warm and bright sun under the banks, and more importantly and secondly, this is where the bugs drop onto the water. Many of the bigger fish will be either down deep, or well under the undercut banks, but a big bushy dry fly, will often bring them up from the bottom, or out from under a bank.
The spring time rains have managed to keep plenty of water in most of the rivers in the district, but the rivers further to the east will start to get lower as the summer progresses. So either fish early or late in the day, when the water is a bit cooler on these streams, or head for the spectacular high country instead, where the air temperatures are often a little cooler, along with the water temperatures.
Big news from the canals is a possible world record brown trout, weighing in over 25kgs. There is a bit of mystery surrounding this monster trout, but if it proves to be a world record, it certainly sets another new standard as to what constitutes a 'trophy trout.' While many people struggle to catch the big ones in the canals at times, one thing I know for certain, if you don't have a line in the water, you certainly won't be among the successful anglers. It is a great way to spend an afternoon with family, as there is always plenty action to see around the waterways, and you never know when a record trout with your name on it might show up!
Finally a reminder of the tagged trout programme on the Hakataramea/Waitaki system. These rainbow trout were trapped, recorded and released on the lower Hakataramea River over the winter by Fish & Game staff. They are now happily swimming throughout the Waitaki and Haka rivers and their tributaries. If you do catch one, make a note of the tag number, weight and an approximate location of where you caught it and give Central South Island Fish & Game a call. Their phone number is on the tag, so it couldn't be easier.
Tight lines and enjoy the summer days!