There’s been a whole lot of laying around doing nothing part from working lately. I thought for sure that I’ve spent my last day at the rivers down here. But having three days off without much for a stack of duties to fulfill, with the shining sun and with a depleted bank of unwatched South Park episodes, boredom soon came to drag me out into the nature.
During my first day, which originally was intended to be spent at winding creek, I spent out on the middle reaches of the Waimakariri River. Having spent two evenings out there before kind of made me feel confident with my choice. To my disappointment it took me about 1 hour to spot my first and only fish for the day, a large brown trout feeding on nymphs…
I gave him a few terrestrials but they didn’t get him just all the way up to the surface, so my only option was to start going through my nymphs. After trying most of my definite choices I ended up using a really strange caddis imitation to which the fish gave some positive response. The fish that I suspect might have been a searun trout went absolutely crazy and so it didn’t take more than ten seconds before the line snapped.
As said that was the only sighted fish for this day, but in my opinion rising fish does not really count as sighted fish. And so I saw a whole army of rising fish, I got five on the hook and landed one.
The next morning was spent scrolling through the internet and the DoC topomaps in order to find what could be a good stretch for the day. What’s really hard though, is that the late season can be very decieveful regarding the water level in some smaller streams – Some rivers totally vanish in the draught. I was really looking to fish the Winding Creek, but for some reason I just didn’t feel like it since the Broken River, for which the Winding Creek is a tributary, was almost completely dry.
Sometimes your guidebook might tell you one thing while your intuition tells another. And so I trusted my intuition and drove off to another river in Arthurs Pass instead, no matter what John Kent says, there’s got to be fish.
The drive is a pure delight. I also love it when the weather reports hold their promises. It was misty sprinkling rain in Darfield that morning, but as I progressed uphill I kind of rose above the clouds. Ideal conditions for the dry fly – Slightly damped sun and not a single gust!
I finally hit the river after mocking around to find the kind of stretch I wanted to fish. Not too wide, not too deep, not too… Jeez I’m getting fuzzy.
During the first half of the 20th century New Zealand Rail (NZR) dumped a bunch of Old locomotives on the banks of this river in order to stabilize the banks so that the river wouldn’t change as much annularly.
Spotting the first fish didn’t take much time. Blinded by my belief that every fish would like a terrestrial I kind of messed up that chance. After bombing the trout with the “superfly” terrestrial he decided to go home.
They’re feeding on something else.
I wonder what it may be…
So after quite some walking and negotiating with the different braids of the river I finally found a small interesting stretch containing a least said interesting bend. I sat down to eat an apple and…
A wild trout appeared!
I used mayfly spinner!
It’s super effective!
I told myself that catching more fish in order to get satisfied wouldn’t be necessary, but it didn’t take long until I was craving another fish. After having two other fish take my fly without getting hooked the frustration grew immensely.
To top that up, a persistent gust started to blow downstream, which really didn’t keep the frustration leveled as my flies didn’t really land where i wanted them to.
I was pissed off for a while. But I kept on lurking, and that’s when I saw him, a real nice fish lurking in the depths. I told myself that I surely wouldn’t catch it because I was way to irritated and stressed out. I tried the good old act of having a meal right next to the fish, in some wierd way it’s actually like having a somewhat romantic dinner with it.
After a dinner together you kind of get to know eachother a bit better and so some degree of nervousness wane. I still didn’t believe in myself enough though, but i sure was going to give it a shot. I applied the super terrestrial, a tungsten copper john dropper topped off with a hare and copper. I triple checked the knots which were a good idea since two of them broke during the check.
Locked and loaded!
I felt as if I slipped out of reality when the fish aggressively nailed the nymph. I was almost sure it was a small King Salmon due to the pink and black nature of its coloration. But no disappointments here, so epic!
I might be heading up there once more before the bitter end.