Friday 23rd September 2016

 

Overcast.  No rain as of 9:00am.  No wind.  The Tongariro is highly fishable.  Seems to be quite a lot of fish in the Tongariro at present.  As I said a few months ... what is good gets even better as we head towards Spring ;-)

I went out for a flick on Wednesday as well.  I managed to get out mid afternoon and got to the river whilst there was a huge Mayfly hatch occurring. I caught all of the fish nymphing with half taking a glo bug and the other half mayfly nymphs. I only saw two definite rises and two "slurps" just under the surface so the fish are looking up but should get better over the next few weeks depending on the weather and wind.  

A mixture of fish with some really nice fresh ones and a few on the skinny side having done their spawning. These are usually referred to as kelts or slabs or spent fish. These fish are the result of having done their business spawning and put all of their condition and effort into doing so thereby losing weight and condition. These fish are the feeders and in the Spring, mayfly and caddis nymphs are the readily available food source for them once they have spawned and their hunger makes them easy to catch.  Most anglers tend to dismiss them as they are "not top condition" fish, however these are the ones that will provide you with entertainment on the dry fly and are dynamite on a small emerger or caddis fly for the evening rise.  You will be surprised at how well they will fight when caught like this.

Many years ago you used to see heaps of these washed up on the river bank and they were in a really poor state but I found this was before the big flood of 2004.  I think this flood blew a lot of the silt from the eruption out of the river thus exposing the rocky bed once again which is ideal for the nymph life to re-establish itself. The silt I believe was covering the rocks.

Once these fish have spawned then they seem to feed and regain some condition and strength quite quickly. If the river doesn't get too many floods then these fish usually hang around in the river for quite some time.  The drawback of lack of floods in the Spring is that if you are into boat fishing then these floods earlyish on should knock these kelts back out into the lake to give them a few months to fatten up ready for the summer fishing.  

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(Above) A kelt/slab or spent fish. This one is a hen and you can see it has a concave belly meaning it has laid its eggs.

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(Above & Below) This was an interesting fish.  This is a rainbow but it basically had no spots on its back.  Check it out in comparison to the rainbows in the pictures above and below. It had a few spots just where I held it by the tail.

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(Below) These are a pair of Blue Ducks (Whio) that I saw on Tuesday afternoon.  In this one pool I saw two of these, a pair of paradise ducks and two Canadian Geese ..... and .... a Partridge in a Pear Tree ???

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(Below) This was a nice fresh rainbow hen.  Over the last few times out and about I have caught quite a few of these.  They are about 43cm long and all look pretty similar. 

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(Above & Below) I was talking to Peter Carty the other day and he was saying something about markings on some rainbows under the chin similar to cutthroat trout. He said they sometimes cross with rainbows and are called cutbows.  He was asking if I had seen any over the years ... I kind of possibly recalled catching some but low and behold I got one on Tuesday.  The fish above shows two orange "cuts" whereas the one below doesn't have any. He consulted Tony Entwistle who wrote" Cuts and bow do hybridise a bit. I asked John Hayes some years back about the orange 'cuts' and he mentioned there was some record of prospective cutthroat eggs getting mixed up with early importation of rainbows. Pretty obscure though.  It is possible those orange marks are a recessive gene.  Generally cutthroat have bright red there of course."

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(Below) I kept two nice hens then I caught this nice jack .... I ended up putting the jack back so I could continue fishing. The rules say that once you have caught and "kept" your third fish you must stop fishing. Of course once I put this jack back I didn't catch much else !!

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(Below) The only one I landed after putting the jack back was this nice hen.  You can see I foul hooked it in the fin !!! Once again if you foul hook a fish you must return it to the water as well.

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