Rotorua Fly Fishing Report -13th Janary 2012

By Rene Vaz 01/16/2012

So much for our long hot summer, though at least the air temperature has been summer like even with the heavy rain and gale force winds during the early part of the week. Thankfully Lake Rotorua’s water temperature continued to rise to the point where fish have started moving into Hamurana, Awahou and Waiteti streams in reasonable numbers. Unfortunately the very high lake level is restricting access to only a small part of Hamurana and the wind is beating up anglers as much as they are trying to beat up the water in search of fish. Overall the condition factor of rainbows being caught at all of the above mentioned spots leaves a lot to be desired with only around two fish in ten being worth keeping and even then they are marginal. Size 12 killwell number one, or any of the grey ghost variations have caught reasonable numbers of fish as have tan coloured nymph drifted along the lake bottom, during the earlier part of the week. I have found that casting across the wind and allowing my flies to drift in the current, with just enough of a retrieve to keep my flies just off the bottom has worked best. For those who have access to a small boat there is some good fishing to be had further out in the lake but before you get to the drop off into deeper water at Hamurana. With the almost constant easterlies boats fishing at any of the streams from the Awahou through to the Ngongotaha has been a major challenge due to large waves in the shallows and heavily discoloured water. One angler who anchored his boat out off the Hamurana mouth seemed to better than anypone else. A fast stripped woolly bugger was snapped up on a fairly regular basis while everyone else struggled to catch fish. It seems that the bulk of the fish are further out in the lake than shore based anglers can reach. The lake temperature is at the point where fish should be moving in, but with the high water level getting out to them is the challenge.

The start of the week saw high catch rates at the Waiteti Stream even though the lake was brown from silt and the wind was pumping in. Both nymphing and wet fly fishing was successful during the middle of the afternoon but tapered off by early evening. The stream was barely fishable where it entered the mouth but up at Hamson Drive it was a lot clearer.

A good run of juvenile smelt came through the Ohau Channel the last couple of weeks and have spread around the lake. There are plenty of rainbows up to the one kilo mark feeding inside and outside the channel but most are very selective as far as your fly is concerned. Larger rainbows are there but they have a lot of condition to regain before they are worth eating.

Jigging on Lake Rotoiti, when the wind allows, has been productive for some. The island, Hauparu drop off, Westbank and occasionally at Vercoe’s have all produced great conditioned fish up to four kilos at times. Shore based angling has been challenging at the lake level has been consistently higher than normal for weeks. The Waiiti mouth and Emery’s Reef usually fish fairly well at this time of the year but without the consistent blue skies and high air temperatures the fish are content to stay out in thedepths of the lake.

Lake Tarawera has also continued to produce good quality fish to those jigging during the middle of the day and when conditions allow. Such has been the level of rain over the past few weeks that even having the Tarawera River outlet available the lake remains stubbornly high. Getting close enough to fish the drop off at Rangiuru Bay or the Orchard is next to impossible.