The 1st of October sees the opening of the New Zealand freshwater fishing season. This year we decided to head to a small high country stream with a couple of good mates ,Dirk and Trevor. I have fished this stream the past couple of opening and have done very well .We decided to hit the road about 6am, as the chosen river is popular with anglers early season as the river holds a good number of large brown trout that become harder and harder to fool as the season goes on. During the drive down to Cromwell with Trevor the conversation was typical fishy banter, we discussed new fly patterns we'd tied for the season, new fly lines we'd recently purchased and how they performed, and how the prices of the new season fishing licenses we're still very inexpensive given the quality of the fishing we have here in New Zealand, it was then that Trev exclaimed with a loud expletive that he had forgotten to get a new license for the coming season ! Luckily the new Fish and Game website lets you purchase your license online, a quick Google search on his iPhone and within minutes he was a new season license holder ! We continued down the road where we met Dirk just outside the township of Cromwell, loaded his gear into my truck and we were off !
We arrived a little after 8am and drove down a rough farm track to our starting point for the day. We hurriedly put our waders and wading boots on, assembled our rods then packed our backpacks with raincoats, lunch boxes andspare rods and reels etc .The river was gin clear but was carrying a good flow of water, there was still plenty of snow in the hills that was filtering it's way down through the countless number of creeks flowing out of the the surrounding hill sides.The call was made to walk downstream for an hour or so then fish our way back to the car.We had to pick our crossings and the tails of the pools we're the easiest points in which to do this, the heavy flowing water made things hard going and at one point I slipped on a algae covered rock, losing my balance and bouncing downstream on my back for several meters just managing to regain my footing before going completely under !
After an hour of walking we decided to stop and begin fishing. We took it in turns casting to sighted fish and fishing riffles and runs blind. We didn't see many fish in the first hour and had a limited amount of shots, the day was overcast with the odd blue patch of sky appearing every now and then making spotting in the tea colored water a little easier at times. Dirk was the first to hook up , he was blind fishing through a likely run when his bright colored indicator took a dive, opening day rustiness and a slight glare off the water resulted in him not seeing or being quick enough to get a good hook set on the fish, a quick head shake and it was off.... Fish 1- Anglers 0. We continued upstream covering all the likely bits of water, and looking for fish out feeding along the edges and in the shallows. We finally caught a glimpse of dark shape at the head of a deep pool swinging side to side and occasionally lifting to intercept nymphs drifting down stream. Trev moved into position and laid a perfect cast out, the nymphs passed the fish but no interest, a quick change to a heavier nymph and a slightly longer next cast to give the flies more time to sink down into the fishes feeding zone and bingo ! Trevor's indicator stalled slightly then ducked under ,Trevor lifted the rod and tightened up, suddenly all hell broke loose .The fish shot across stream and headed for the steep rock wall against the other side of the stream using the main current in the middle of the stream to put distance between itself and Trev. Trevor kept his cool and gently leaned on the fish with a little side strain, directing it back towards him and away from a fast chute of water flowing out of the tail of the pool 15-20 meters below us. After a 5 minute tug of war the fish was carefully eased into the side and quickly scooped up by myself. A couple of hoots from the 3 of us and a quick net weigh revealed a very solid 7.5lb beautifully conditioned hen fish.Trevs first opening day fish in New Zealand !
We came across a couple of fish that were rising through out the day but no real hatch to speak of. A couple more fish we're spotted along the edges and drop offs with a couple of them being fooled only to come unstuck at the last minute. I don't think we saw as many fish this opening day compared to the 2 previous ones, the water temperature was fairly cool from all the recent snow melt and we guessed fish we're still holding deep and a little sluggish. All in all a great day sharing the water with a couple of good mates, what it's all about !
Good luck for the coming season and enjoy whats shaping up to be a good one .