Taupo has been crazy over the weekend with the Round The Lake Cycle Challenge bringing in about 7,000 cyclists and 10,000 supporters. It would have been a bugger for any anglers arriving in town thinking they could just find a place to stay, and ending up sleeping in their car!
Unfortunately for the cyclists, it has been a wet and windy weekend, and the forecast ahead is for rain all week. The rain shouldn’t be enough to wash out the backcountry streams but is good for the Spring fishing. We’ve had some great patches of warm sunny weather through October and November, with lots of insect activity in our local rivers, and the backcountry fly fishing streams to the east and south producing early action.
Smelt have been in abundance with great harling on the lake from Three Mile Bay down to Wharewaka Point and Dirty Duck Creek. If you can access a kayak it’s worth getting out a casting a Silicone Smelt or small Gray Ghost out into the smelt schools first thing in the morning, you’ll see them with the trout crashing through them or Shags working the surface. Otherwise spots like Dirty Duck and the southern side of Wharewaka Point are good options, or any stream mouths from the Waitahanui right round to the Kuratau River, and of course the Western Bays if you can get in there.
The Tongariro River fly fishing has been the pick of local spots with plenty of fresh Rainbows and the odd Brown being caught in the middle and upper pools. We guided a couple from the US who had never fly fished and hooked into 12 in a day which left them delighted and hopefully hooked on fly fishing for life. A few of the jacks have been quite coloured up and there are fresh silver hens still running, but many fish are spent and on their way back down the river.
Remember in the clear conditions to extend your leader and go a little lighter than your winter rig. Caddis variations have been working well on the nymph, and in dry-fly dropper rigs, and Red Rabbits with a small Green Woolly Bugger trailing have worked swinging through the tails of pools.
The wetlining has been hooking more of the better-conditioned trout. The rain this week should further suit wet-lining, and remember to fish your feet first as the added flow pushes fish to the sides of the river.
The Hinemaia has been quiet with fewer anglers and fish. On a couple of walks up the river many of the darker jacks that were hanging around in specific runs and pools appear to have returned to the lake.
The Whanganui and Whakapapa have been a bit hot and cold, and it will be interesting to see how they fish after a week of rain and then more sun. Expect some good fishing following the rain on Lake Kuratau and Lake Rotoaira as soon as the we have a couple of hot days in a row.
Until next time, tight lines and good luck! Remember to send us any photos or stories via our Facebook page.