The Big O has officially closed as of the 31st of May and what a memorable season it has been. I managed to visit the lake twice this season which is a lot less than I would typically do. That said, I felt I received my Lake Otamangakau fix with great fishing on both occasions early in the season and even though I fished less this year compared to past seasons I was content with the fishing I had. As the season progressed the lake became very low and the water temperature increased rapidly as a result of a long hot dry spell and no water movement in the lake. Reports of dead fish floating around raised alarm bells with fears that fish were becoming over stressed while being caught and handled and dying as a result. It was not all doom and gloom and quickly after these reports The Department of Conservation assured us that there was still plenty of cold pockets of water in the lake where fish could seek refuge from the warm water.
March saw a welcome cooler shift in the weather and as a result water temps followed quickly after. The word was now out of the better lake conditions and cooler water and then BOOM! Up start popping grip’n’grin images on social media of some absolutely stunning fish. You know who you are who caught the beasts! This showed that D.O.C were right with their observations and the fish where actually doing very well despite the less than ideal conditions. The Manic boss man, Rene Vaz, had a great session with Gareth Jones who happens to be the sales director for Airflo Fishing. True to form Gareth and Rene caught a bunch of fish with Rene landing a stonking double digit rainbow!
At the time Rene had noticed that fish had started to pod up and both big rainbows and browns where chasing small trout around also. Both Rene and Gareth did very well using bright coloured fly patterns on the day and this was a strategic choice due to the time of year. The fish that were hunting down small trout could only be looking for a large meal and this is where a streamer patterns like the Sundell’s Cosmo Fire and the Galloups Pearl Necklace from the Manic Fly Collection are perfect for the job. Myself and buddy Karl Sawyer had great fishing early in the season with the majority of fish taken from a drifted boat. We used a combination of nymphs being a blood worm with either a midge pupa or a damsel fly pattern adjusting the distance between fly and indicator to suit the water depth and conditions. This technique always does well for me.
Rob's Redhead Bloodworm
Rowley’s Clearwater Pupa
Ritts Slimfast Damsel
That about wraps it up from me and another great season on the lake. We are super fortunate to have a great fishery like this in a great such a great setting. The lake is very exposed to the weather and it’s a real four seasons in one day environment with all the extremes possible.
When I look back at all of my photos over the years, even in the warmer months, I am just about always wearing a jacket. Thankfully Simms and it’s quality gear keeps me warm, dry and comfortable enabling me to fish in even in the harshest of conditions this lake will often throw at you. Honestly I don’t think that I could last out there fishing nearly as long as I do without a good wader and jacket combo. This gear is really a game changer! The fish don’t mind being cold and wet and this gear will get you out there and keep you there!
Winter is upon us so it’s now time to shift the focus to the winter fishing. No doubt we’ll see you around Taupo very soon.