The signs were there in autumn of 2019. Trout had gained weight at the end of the previous season, and we knew the rodent population was forecast to explode before the opening of our next season. We just hoped that our winter would not be too harsh – not too many big storms and river floods.
Spring weather was mixed – definitely more rain than sunshine. Rivers were often very high and flooded. Despite challenging conditions many stunning trout were landed before Christmas. We saw mice everywhere running through meadows and on the road. On one day in November while walking back to our truck, we saw thirty or forty rats that had been run over on the road – incredible! During November and December trout ranged between eight and ten pound with many close to ten pound and including three over ten pound.
On our first day out on the river in early January we landed a twelve pounder – a massive trout. From our viewing point, we estimated he was around 8 or 9 pound. This trout was in very fast water and deep down. It took half an hour to both gain the right drift and also move the monster out from a difficult position under a ledge. When we eventually had him in the net, he was bigger than we thought!
From here on the double figures just kept rolling in and we lost plenty. There was a dip in late January for about two or three weeks – maybe there was too much fishing pressure and trout just weren’t interested anymore.Later in the season we had a shift again and fishing improved with some more large trout and a few more double digits.
What a season! – it certainly lived up to expectations, with five anglers landing their first Ten Pound Plus trout. Then Covid-19 arrived and everything came to an abrupt halt. Unfortunately we were forced to cancel several angler’s trips late in the season when New Zealand closed its borders suddenly.
Covid-19 has hit hard – globally we are all dealing with our own country’s restrictions and waiting to see how things will unfold in terms of our ability to travel.
Currently (May 30th) New Zealand has had no new cases for the past eight days and has only one active case. We are still looking at opening our border with Australia in September and will soon be allowing non New Zealanders to enter under strict quarantine conditions.
We are still accepting bookings for the coming 2020/21 fly fishing season. We are hopeful that because New Zealand is currently in a very good position and because our contact tracing and control systems are operating smoothly, there is hope that entry into New Zealand will happen for international travellers. Border entry will no doubt begin slowly with strict observation of these systems before opening up more freely.
To all of you out there who are still living in your own challenging conditions with Covid-19 – stay safe and keep well. Our thoughts are with you.
There will be more big trout next season – they’re all feasting right now.