I thought that I would mention fresh water fishing for a change. Fresh water, usually trout, does not draw as large a television audience as salt water fishing but thanks to Fish and Game and the effective use of license fees the fishery is particularly well managed. October 1st was the official opening of the season in the north and we fished the Lakes Lodge competition based at Lake Okataina. Lake Okataina is my absolute favourite, providing accommodation, breathtaking scenery, solitude and great fishing.
Fish and Game release trout in to this and several other Rotorua lakes and a ready supply of natural food including fresh water crayfish (koura) ensures that rainbow trout bulk up to solid proportions.
Lakes Lodge has a large, comfortable vessel (Waiora) which is utilised for conferences and weddings and during the competition is a floating restaurant serving brunch to a bunch of hungry anglers. It is great to cruise over, tie up, scoff a hearty feed and head back to the fishing. All the while enjoy the backdrop of bush clad hillsides loaded with mature native trees and groves of rich green punga ferns.
When I first started fishing Okataina my preferred method was to tie a booby fly and glow bug to 400mm of trace which in turn was attached to 10 metres of fast sinking shooting head on a fly rod and reel.
Strip off all of the shooting head, work the line out of the rod and as soon as you have all of the shooting head out of the rod tip let it all go. The whole lot would sink to the bottom and eventually you would get a bite. I like to twitch my line back slowly and impart movement to the flies. This system still works fine as too does harling but now I have become a jig convert.
You can buy pre tied sets of jig flies attached to fluorocarbon leader. Pat Swift is the expert and his fly selections are lethal but I just love traffic lights, bully lights, ginger Micks, green orbits , setters, woolly buggers and various other smelt flies.
The technique involves attaching a two ounce sinker to the bottom of your fly trace, lowering it to the bottom and moving the rod tip up and down sufficiently to impart a wounded look to the flies.
In other words, make them flutter!
A light rod with a free spool reel loaded with braid is ideal and you want three or four sets so that you are always ready for action. Clearly there are various refinements to both techniques and fly options and these can also vary by location but jigging provides a real adrenalin boost. The angler is usually holding on to the rod when the fish strikes. Add koura fed orange fleshed rainbows to the smoker and the result is delicious. So if you are looking to try something that is easy to master, can be enjoyed by the whole family in often calm conditions then perhaps jigging for trout is worth a try.
We love it, especially on Lake Okataina.