"Whats plan B Chris?"
Wild weather can hit at anytime of the year here in NZ and there is nothing more disheartening to the weekend warrior than finally getting time off from commitments and finding everything totally blown out. As a full time professional guide, we have to take these type of events on the chin and soldier on the best we can: we don't go home, we go hard and so following are a few tips that may just save your trip.
- look for smaller, shorter tributary streams up towards the headwaters. Those with smaller catchments will miss a lot of the weather and will clear quicker than larger, lowland waters. Carry a map in the car if you need help locating these.
- carry big, lightly weighted nymphs and plug away methodically in the slower, knee deep edge-waters along the banks. Big stoneflies, creepers and the like will give out a more noticeable profile, and the addition of rubber legs, tails and feelers will add easy to detect movement. The lighter weight of these flies allows you to fish them through slower water without hanging up too soon.
Top Wanaka guide and circus clown Paul Macandrew lulls Chris' trout into a false sense of security before slipping in the net. Essential in coloured water.
- look to the inside bends, eyes and other quiet water areas away from the main flow. Once the peak of the fresh passes trout will move from cover into such areas and begin to feed.
- big streamers are essential in discoloured flows: lots of movement, big profile and strong hooks to pull fish from cover and either eat, attack or chase off this imposing morsel. Dores Mr Glister, Sex Dungeons and Double Bunnies all serve the purpose well: pitch them upstream and across, mend to get them deep and then strip. And of course, don't forget my war-cry: "when it tugs, tug back"... Hard!
- and finally do not discount our lake fisheries. No matter where you are in the South, you are never far from a Stillwater of sorts. From the large southern lakes through to smaller swamps, tarns or lagoons, you will usually find clean water here and more often than not, quality fish. And it’s not just the lakes: search their shoreline for small spring creeks or outlet streams. Definitely not a second rate fishery.
Nelson Trout-Magician Mike Kirkpatrick and Chris found rising fish when a number of others commented "you wouldn't have done much good today"
But most importantly, persevere. You may not experience high numbers of fish eating off the top but every tug on the line in filthy conditions is a success. And if you manage to hit that 'magic moment' as a dirty river just starts to clear you can experience some of the hottest action of your fly fishing career, as seemingly every fish in the river is out eating, not caring and smashing anything which resembles food as it passes.
You can’t catch fish from your living room couch so don't let crap conditions stop you.