As a matter of fact, I was not sure when I finish this fishing trip because I was on a long holiday.
The problem was I was nearly out of food but there was no supermarket in Mossburn, used to be one but had been shut down. So on the Day 5, I talked to the manager of the motor camp and he told me that there was one in Lumsden, another town 20km down Mossburn. Therefore, I decided to stretch this fishing trip two more days and drove down to the town to buy some food before I got to the river.
In this morning, I tried the Oreti again fishing upstream the same beat where I caught a nice one in the Day2 morning.
I kept casting about 4hours covering distance of 1.5-2km with higher concentration.
I only saw a wounded very skinny fish on the edge and that was all, caught absolutely nothing, didn't have any chance.
River flow was getting very low, and I came to the conclusion that fishing the Oreti was not productive at all at the moment.
"Now, I have to decide where to fish, what to do."
There was a river which I fished at the end of last year's Christmas fishing trip and I caught a nice rainbow. I did not spend much time for fishing the river then. Maybe I just try the river again from another access spot, and if not good, lake fishing could be an option.
I found and took this access, one down from the access where I took to fish last year.
I had to cross this wide green. That's all right, I don't mind. Better than the Oreti's walk only zone.
Just at my second or third cast, a big rainbow smashed my Green Caddis Larva in this run!
A beautiful 4lb. hen. I chased this very strong fish further downstream to land.
A manuka beatle and a lady bug came out from her stomach. She seemed to be feeding terrestrials even though she bit my caddis larva.
Manuka beatles were here, there.
I changed my fly to dry #14Royal Wulff, one of the most typical NZ's summer flis that can gererally imitate any terrestrials.
I was expecting the next rainbow soon take this dry but not.
This is quite a big river, lots of water volume, mostly riffly fast runs like this in this section, not many pool exists.
And also, one of the worst didymo affected rivers, unfortunately.
When I came across this big spot, I felt something good because this was the only good curve in this section. Nice slower flow inside the bend and nice depth in the run. What I felt was like If I had been fishing the Oreti, fish must have been here, no doubt.
Although I made my Royal Wulff drift down in the slower water closer to myself, along the riffle and then on the riffle over and over again, no fish rose up.
But I still believed that there must have been fish in this spot definitely, didn't feel feel like walking away. So I changed my fly back to dry&nymph again, to my go-to set up #10Stimulator
Green Caddis Larva.
And it happend at my second cast after changing fly as I dropped the rig in the slow moving water next to the riffle.
I first thought I hooked up a big rainbow again, but in the middle of fighting, I could tell this was not a rainbow, a big brown because of its slower but stronger run and its characteristic head shaking action.
It was an unexpected encounter with this big brown.
Over 6.5, nearly 7lb. Jack, 25 inchs in the length.
A stunning brown lies on didymo river bed.
This is my best fish of this season so far. He took my #12 Caddis Larva.
I kind of struggled to fish in the first 5 days in this trip, but my efforts finally paid off holding this beauty in my hands. Yes!!!
After 90 mins fishing another spot, I came back to the same spot again because of my hunch that the spot was still holding another fish.
And I proved it by myself! Another one put a good bend in my rod.
4.5lb. hen on the same caddis fly.
Having a good and sharp hunch is always important to be a good fisherman I think.
The end of Day6.
All right. Tomorrow will be the last day. Maybe I just explore this river half a day again, and then on my way back to Dunedin, stop around Gore to have some evening rise fishing to finish this trip.
Weatherwise, the last day was the best. According to the forecast, it was gonna be a long fine spell today. Although it had always been windy during this trip, I finally had a nice and calm morning.
So I drove straight to the same river.
Got a first fish on!
Nice 3lb. jack.
The second fish was another jack of the same size.
Quite good average size rainbows in this river.
And then, the third fish was a brown, 3.5lb. hen.
Fun to tour the new water.
I'm in again with the 4th fish!
18 inches rainbow on dry.
After 1PM, I felt fish stopped feeding.
My Loop Evotec is always a perfect all-rounder when fishing large rivers like this as well as still waters.
Well, Good time to stop fishing here. I just walked back to my car, had some break and got on my way back to Gore.
In the evening, I fished the same beat as I did on the Day1 in this trip out of the lower Mataura.
My Scott G2 905/4 was chosen to end this fishing trip because I hadn't fished any on this rod in this season yet somehow. So why not give it a go to come into play.
And did a good job for me!
I caught three fish on dry all in good size range of 18-20inches.
Just lost one fish getting 5x tippet broken.
I think my matching the hatch for the Mataura has now been improved. There're still a lot more to refine but way better than before.
Caught seven fish all together today. I was pleased at having the best day for the last day of this long trip.
Thought after the trip
I was expecting Oreti River to be the highlight of this trip, but at the same time, I knew it was not a easy river so fishing was gonna be harder.
This time, I tried to explore new parts out of each river where I had fished at least once before searching for a better spot. If I hadn't done it, the successes on the Day6 and 7 woudn't have happend. And in that way, I thought I had a reasonably good fishing. It always takes time to bring everything into play to be able to fish when fishing on the waters where you don't know about very well.
Now that we are already in new year 2017, I have to catch my new year fish during the rest of my holiday.
A storm hit this area in Southland this early morning, not with a heavy rain but with a big wind. I had a small cabin, so not too bad but would have been so bad If I had been in a tent. So I wasn't sure if I could go fishing today.
I picked up my guitar and had some play with it waiting for the storm get gone. And around 10am, big wind died out, still so windy but not like a storm anymore.
I decided to try to fish some part of the upper Mataura, around Athol or Parawa?
There was nothing to do around here other than fishing anyway. Why not get back on the water!
I left the moter camp to get on SH94 to Five Rivers and then SH6 towards Queenstown.
I turned in the main access road to the upper Mataura at Parawa, had never been here before though.
I saw a river ranger from Fish&Game while getting ready for fishing and had my licence checked. He came up from downstream and told me that he saw 3 anglers fishing downstream.
The second bridge on the main access gravel road. Fishing upstream from here.
As I had fished upstream of Black Bridge above Athol before, I was expecting the Mataura in the same size and similar river configuration, but actually river was much bigger and more like a mountain river sort. Like semi- wilderness fishing here which I really liked.
And how did my fishing day go?
I had a reasonably good day, not like the day before.
Fished on the first one as soon as I started.
Nice and beautiful 2.5lb fish on a dry.
In this stretch, I spotted a good one on the edge just under my feet.
Like 22 inches fish?
Although this brown once rose up to my dry and took it, I couldn't hook up.
She refused all the other dries that I presented to but twice again got called up by the same dry that she once took. Then I had a hunch that the colour was right but something else that I need to change.
Maybe the size?
I tied on a smaller size dry fly in the same colour and the similar shape on 4X tippet.
It worked actually. She got called up to the surface again, rose quickly and did a good take! Got hooked up completely.
Nearly 23inches but skinny. I didn't weigh because she was not a fish for the weight.
Thank you for the exciting sight fishing game.
Another good one sight fished on a nymph.
But I enjoyed fishing the new water for myself out of the upper Mataura.
I spent another day to fish the upper Mataura as I found this part of the river such a pleasant place to be.
So many fly fishermen were out on the river today. I first took an access at the first bridge on the main gravel road and fished upstream but caught no fish in the first 3hours.
After lunch, I drove downstream searching for another river access. Actually there were quite a few sign posted anglers access on the road but I saw anglers vehicles parked at each access point. I just kept driving downstream and found no car parked at an angler access sign, a little upstream from the third bridge on the road.
Hmmm, my Simms Sun Gloves have nearly been worn out again. These are already the third pair tough...
There were too many large cattles on the river bank upstream of myself. I walked downstream first to get away from them because they were stepping down slowly but steadily to myself. I didn't want to be attacked, they can be quite attacky sometimes.
There was a wide and very shallow flat on the true right hand side and some brownies were taking willow grubs off the top.
Before I used a willow grub fly, I dropped the same small dry as I succeeded on the 23inchs fish the day before in front of this fish at long range. She found my dry, came closer, stared, emerged and took it! Everything was visible. It was a very exciting sight fishing game again even though she was another skinny fish just like yesterday's one.
These were what I took out from her stomach.
Willow grubs, water boatmen and tiny snails.
And no other willow grubber took the dry fly, even my willow grub fly either.
After all, except a wee brown that I caught on a dry in the evening, I could catch no other fish on the day. Just one brown I spotted and tried to sight fish touched #18 PT Nymph but did not get hooked up. That's all.
The end of the day.
In the upper Mataura, most larger fish were skinny. And almost no fish rose to the mayfly hatch like the lower Mataura. Maybe, not much mayfly hatch occurs during summer in the upper reach. Actually no mayfly came out from their stomach at this time. It is a beautiful river, lovely place, so it would be memorable experience to be fishing here, however I personaly and preferably would like to enjoy fishing the lower reach for matching the hatch. It's the same Mataura but a lot different between the upper and the lower part as far as I know.
I think I should try the Oreti once again tomorrow morning, like half a day and then try a different river if the Oreti is still too hard to catch fish.
I have just been back from a week fishig trip 24-30Dec in Southland.
So here is the digest looking back the week.
Before I got to Mossburn where I had my base camp this time, I just sept half a day on the lower Mataura again staying at Gore for the first night.
Strong southerlies continuously blew up from downstream and no hatch occured. So fish kept heads down at this spot.
"No fish will rise in this windy condition." this was what I learned about fishing at this flat water spot in the past weeks and guessed so.
I moved and tried a new spot several kirometres down Mataura township.
In this part, the river goes more like winding and high bank on the other side. It looked kind of sheltered from the bad wind and I thought it was worth trying here. A nice and quiet spot.
At the very end of the day, a few fish finally rose up and I caught two of them weighed range 2－2.5lb.on #16 CDC Emergers.
I drove to Mossburn and fished the Oreti, not the upper Oreti but several km upstream of the town. The gate on this accsess was temporalily locked up for some reason when I came here in the Christmas time last year. So I hadn't fished this beat before.
Within an hour from the start, I hooked up the first fish! Strong fish!!
I was using Dry & Dropper Nymph Rig, #10 Stimulator for the dry and #12 Tungsten Beaded Caddis for the nymph. He took the dry at just under the drop off.
Nice and strong jack brown over 5lb with huge fins. Cool fish!
Lengthwise, just a mere short of 24inches, like 59cm.
At this time, I thought it was gonna be a good fishing day, but actually it went harder. Absolutely nothing for the next 3 hours and stopped fishing to check in the moter camp.
Here I come again. My favourite holiday park Mossburn Country Park.
After checking in, back on the water again. From the same access but went downstream to explore new water.
The sky beautifully cleared up in the late afternoon but nothing happend. Southerlies didn't stop to the end of the day so it felt like colder than it looks in this photo.
Manuka beatles were out there. These are one of those insects who remind us( fly fishermen in New Zealand) summer.
I fished the upper Oreti walk only zone, the beat directly upstream from the bottom of Oreti Rd.
When I arrived in the disignated car park, somebody's vehicle was already there parked at the Patterson's Bush Beat sign boad which was the further upstream beat. Whaao tough guy! I never choose the beat when all beats are available though...
And when I was just about to start walking, another fisherman drove in and took downstream beat.
Yes, start walking!
Been a year since I fished this beat last year.
River flow was slightly lower than last year when I was here. And very clear.
At most of the spots where I saw fish last year, I could spot some fish again but had no chance to take any one of them.
I caught nothing in 5.5hours fishing session. Soooo hard...
As I walked back to the car park, the angler who came after me and went downstream came back, too. He said he got one hooked up on a nymph but lost it, and another one came up to his dry fly but didn't hook up.
After having lunch break, I moved and took an access from Centre Hill Rd.
This was the beat where I caught my first Oreti brown a year ago. Not the walk only zone but I actually like this beat.
Before I left the walk only zone car park, it was turning more windy. So no one was here when I got down this beat and it was already too windy to start.
But I still wanted to fish the Oreti and tried for 1.5hours, but eventually gave up finding the condition unable to make good casts.
I drove to a small river near Mossburn to finish the day but was able to catch a wee brown only.
That's all right! Tomorrow will be another day.
I still have 4days left but the Oreti may have been too hard to catch fish. Maybe I should try another river and see how it goes..