The cicada have been on the wing in the South for a while now and though fish will always key in on an imitation early in the piece, just now are they actively hunting them in the drift.
Nothing beats lobbing a large terrestrial above a beasty, back country trout and hereon in is your chance to get in on the action.
While fish will key in on the larger mouthful and often disregard heavier tippet early on, before long presentation of the fly becomes paramount. I now kick off with lighter 4x and 5x tippet depending on the water and surrounds as long as the fly does not spin in flight, employ longer leaders and pitch the fly outside of the fish and make him move. It’s no use risking spooking that trophy with a presentation that’s too close now is it?
Another handy tip is to trail a small beetle or emerger pattern behind your cicada. Fish will move a long way for a cicada but often refuse it in the final moments. Giving him something a little more subtle to key in on during the approach often pays off for my clients and I.
With many species of cicada in NZ I find imitating them each with specific patterns isn’t essential, however do match my imitation to the water, and choose a pattern that is visible in the light and surrounds. This could mean a size 6 King Cicada to provide the ‘Boompha!’ effect, a subtle size 10 Tussock Cicada for quieter stillwaters, the hi viz post of a Kiwi Cicada when a client needs a better sighter or a classic Black Cicada which provides a solid silhouette when looking into glare. Then there’s always the True Cicada, because trout love them, and they simply look cool in your box.
Classic Cicada Black
Classic Cicada Olive
Manic has your cicada game covered so top up those high country boxes and get out there!