Have we mentioned the weather lately? Apparently it’s supposed to be spring, but cold fronts have kept coming straight up from Antarctica and winter has lingered – cold, wet and windy. We’re happy with the continuing rain, but could we have a little less of the cold and wind please?
Into these unrelenting conditions came the stoic crew from Southern Fly fishers. In fact, more than stoic – the crew were keen to get out into whatever nature could throw. Fortunately, trout are a cold water species and no matter how bad the weather, they can be caught. Thanks to their willingness to brave the elements, every one of the five fishers caught trout, and there were even a couple of significant captures. Ian caught his largest-ever trout, an 8 pound rainbow caught fishing deep and slow on a flashback nymph. Meanwhile, Rob caught his very first trout on fly while searching the flooded flats with a bead-head nymph. Apparently, he’d spent many months pre Millbrook trying to break the duck, so this fish was a most significant achievement.
All up, the boys landed about a dozen, an even mix of browns and rainbows. There was even some twilight midge action when the wind died to a mere gale.
Over the next week or so, it looks like spring will make a welcome return. However when the inevitable ‘bracing’ weather returns, the Southern Fly Fishers visit will be another reminder that trout can still be caught.
Trevor and friends joined us for the final day of winter, and the start of spring. The weather was suitably unpredictable from gales, to blue sky, to calm evenings, and finished with a bang (literally) with a Sunday afternoon thunderstorm.
The two highlights of the weekend were evening midge hatches, and polaroiding. To midges first, and we’re starting to see the benefits of all that grass being flooded a few months ago. Midge numbers are booming, and come evening, any patch of glassy or lightly-rippled water is likely to be broken by the classic tail-wagging ‘rises’ of trout gorging on chironomid pupa. In fact, Mark rates the rise on Cabin Lake last night as the biggest midge rise he’s seen at Millbrook – and after 25 years fishing and guiding here, that’s saying something!
As for the polaroiding, despite all the rain and runoff, some lakes are beautifully clear and given half-decent light, we’re polaroiding trout cruising the bays and edges. They’re typically fussy early season fish, but some are absolute beauties and worth putting in the effort to fool.
Beetles – both aquatic and terrestrial – are also beginning to feature. All up, spring is off to a good start.
The recent cold snap brought blizzard conditions to Millbrook on Saturday night. We woke up to a Winter wonderland on Sunday morning.
Today we headed out to the lakes with Chris from the Calder Fly Fishing club.
Over the past four days we received 100mm of rain and yesterday a good dump of snow.
Today we found the fish in the shallows exploring the new ground, some lovely browns were landed on large rabbit flies and also a few on the midge.
Overall a great day out considering the past few days.
It looks like we are going to be in for a bumper spring with all this water about.
Members of the Sydney Flyrodders have been making a winter trip to Millbrook for several years now,
and we were delighted to host them once again for a long weekend from 19-21 July.
The theme for this trip would be 'wind (though the photos don't really show it) and water'.
It blew pretty hard most of the time and most days - and after 16 inches of rain since the start of May, the lakes are either full or nearly so. The Cabin Lake and Hillys provided decent shelter from the persistent northerlies, although some of the best actual fishing was in gales on the more exposed lakes.
Sight fishing was surprisingly good. There were a few tailers about, particularly in the shallows at Cabin, and plenty of trout polaroided on all lakes fished - though they weren't particularly easy to fool.
For sighted fish, the best flies tended to be stick caddis, various small nymphs, and red buzzers.
Blind searching was most successful with black Woolly Buggers and Olive Magoos.
Overall, this was one of the tougher trips for this crew, with 5 anglers landing an even 20 trout over three days. But there were plenty more sighted, hooked and lost - and the cabin fireside was the perfect place to recharge and plan the next day.
We're looking forward to seeing the Sydney crew again same time next year.
On the back of the wettest May/June the Millbrook area has seen for decades, the 13 anglers of the Forum crew were met with exceptionally high water for this early in the season. At first, this seemed to go hand-in-hand with great fishing: on the Friday evening the crew arrived, 10 trout were landed.
Subsequently though, the fishing was a bit tougher. While the scoreboard kept ticking over, the catch rate was down somewhat on a typical July weekend. Not so the fish quality though: there were six trout landed over 6 pounds, and three of those were over 7 pounds. There were also 'what might have been' moments for Ollie, Cam and Barney. The double-figure fish are out there!
Sight fishing highlights included some amazing edge polaroiding when the light allowed (as Rob and others will attest!), plus some genuine tailers in the flooded margins on Saturday afternoon, and a big midge rise Saturday evening.
Overall we had our chances, many of those were converted, and things are looking just great for the coming weeks and months.
Our Kiwi friends returned for their annual trip!! Hosted by local regular, Brett Nixon.
Some cracking fish - most of which were caught on Mayfly Duns.
Till next spring....