Hawke’s Bay Reel Life Jan 2017

Head for cooler waters to find your trout

December and early January have seen many of the rivers running low and clear as we progress through the hot summer months here in the Hawke’s Bay.

HB pic 3Weed growth has started to become an issue in some of the rivers and anglers will need to adapt to the conditions to continue to be successful.

Short line nymphing (Czech-style nymphing) is becoming a popular way to fish the region’s rivers and the method opens up new areas to fish, especially when fish are cautious and wary or in tricky-to-fish areas.

The fishing can get harder as the water temperatures rise, and the fish can stop feeding during the warmer parts of the day. It pays to look for cooler and more oxygenated areas at this time of year as that’s where most of the trout will be.

Top right: Dominic McClarey with a nice rainbow taken from the Tutaekuri in December.

Mohaka River

The upper Mohaka River upstream of the Blue Gums in the Kaweka Forest Park contains good numbers of browns and rainbows that are feeding freely during the day in the foam lines with some readily taking insects from the surface.

Back eddies and the tails of pools are worth a look too with good numbers of juvenile trout also present.

HB 1 1Small backcountry tributaries such as the Makino are also worth a look for both rainbows and browns, but careful presentation of flies is required to achieve success. Browns and rainbows range between 500 and 600mm in this stream with a few fish still recovering from spawning last year.

Further downstream on the Mohaka River, areas such as Glen Falls and McVicar Road have seen a lot of angling pressure over the busy holiday period, so it may pay to fish some less popular areas in the weeks ahead to find some willing fish.

Mohaka River, Kaweka Forest Park.

Tutaekuri River

This river is low and with warm air temperatures, many of the fish are stacked up in back waters and along drop-offs and ledges or near areas with cold springs or upwellings.

Trout in these areas are not always easy to catch and can be rather frustrating especially when you can see such gatherings of trout in the one location.

Short line nymphing can be effective when targeting trout along the edge of drop-offs and deeper holes under overhanging willow vegetation.

A dry fly and dropper set up can also be useful when trying your luck in deeper back eddy-type situations.

Fish are also quite spooky and so a lighter and longer leader with smaller nymphs might be more productive.

Weed is starting to form in the middle and lower reaches as we approach mid-summer which can make standard nymphing difficult. Some anglers prefer to just stick with a dry fly to avoid hooking weed on every cast.

Cicada patterns have been working for some anglers so far and this will improve over the next couple of months.

A sample of eight rainbows have been measured and weighed by anglers so far this season on the Tutaekuri and they’ve averaged 500mm and 1.4kg (3lbs).

The heaviest rainbow recorded was a jack measuring 540mm and weighing 1.8kg (4lbs) caught during December.

Ngaruroro River

This river is also running low with some weed growth starting to appear in the middle to lower reaches.

Short line nymphing can be effective at this time of year to search for trout in the colder more oxygenated waters, but also through some slightly deeper areas next to overhanging vegetation and willows.

There are a number of very well-conditioned juvenile trout starting to show up that have done very well over the past 12 months in this particular river.

There are still good numbers of adult trout throughout sections upstream of Maraekakaho that are residing in the deeper pools and runs and shaded areas under willows.

These fish can be targeted nymphing or with a dry and dropper nymph. Heavy copper john nymphs have been working well.

HB Pic 3Right: Mark Elstone with a nice rainbow from the Ngaruroro River during January.

A sample of seven rainbows have been measured and weighed by anglers since the start of the season and these trout averaged 481mm and 1.3kg (2.9lbs) with the heaviest fish weighed so far a rainbow jack measuring 520mm and weighing 1.8kg (4lbs) caught in January.

Tukituki River

Weed has also started to become an issue on the Tukituki downstream of Patangata.

The section of river upstream from Patangata towards the Waipawa junction hasn’t suffered so much from weed growth and is a good area for both traditional nymphing and short line nymphing.

Some anglers have reported good dry fly action in the evenings if they can find an area sheltered from the recent gusty winds. Using a dry fly and short dropper to a small nymph can also be an effective way of dealing with the weed during the day.

A sample of twelve rainbows from the Tukituki River this season have averaged 437mm and 1kg (2.2lbs) with the heaviest trout reported a recovering jack measuring 600mm and weighing 2.25kg (5lbs).

Maraetotara River

This river has fished relatively well this season and produced some nice rainbows and browns.

A sample of more than 30 browns have averaged 495mm and 1.6kg (3.5lbs) with the best brown tipping the scales at 2.9kg (6.4lbs) back in November.

Eleven rainbows also sampled this season have averaged 522mm and 1.6kg with the heaviest fish weighing in at 1.9kg (4.2lbs). All of these trout were carefully weighed in a weigh net and released.