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December 2019 - Rotorua Lakes District

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As we move in to December, it typically starts off as the brown trout run through Lake Rotorua’s tributaries after a number of months spent hibernating back in the Lake, feeding up a storm and packing on condition after a big spawning season. We ideally would want the Lake temperature to be hitting anywhere from the 18 to 22-degree mark before the fish arrive in bulk numbers, and the temperatures have been rising steadily according to the Lake Rotorua monitoring buoy.

If we get more extreme hot days, like what we have had recently, it will speed things up immensely.

This year the fish are on cue, arriving as expected and there is no shortage of plump conditioned hard fighting brownies. They have been seen in the lower reaches of the Waiteti, Utuhina and Ngongotaha, perched near obstacles and banks in preparation for there summer journey upstream.

I have had a few battles with some of them already and have managed to win a few though losing my fair share due to the sheer strength most have brought to the table. Thick set shoulders like bodybuilders that’s had a big pre-season training.

Though I have got the better of a couple of Big browns nudging the double figure mark. I generally rig up a fairly robust leader setup. Running a tapered style leader anywhere from 12lb down to 7lb depending on water clarity. I have found the new Scientific Anglers Absolute tippet the go-to line now, as it is quite a bit stronger than anything else I’ve used butalso at a finer diameter it is proving to be a revelation to my arsenal.

I run a Scientific Anglers Amplitude fly line in tandem as these lines are built for durability and longevity so are the perfect combination running lines in smaller snag infested streams holding big trout. Flies are mostly weighted preferably to get down quick, bead head Hares ear, pheasant tail nymph or a rubber legged stonefly imitation has had success.

They are also starting to look up for surface terrestrials, insects blown from overhanging branches, so it won’t be long before the cicadas start singing and the Brown’s start chomping from the top again.

There are also fish mulling around the stream mouths, and bays not in big numbers yet but the usual early arrivals are there. Most fish tend to hang out near the weed beds during the day and then come in closer on darkness.

Both Brown’s and Rainbows have been caught, sight fished during the day on small size 12 smelt flies like the green orbit, grey ghost orJack sprat also small damsel buggers work well. There is some great surface action during dusk and Dawn and this is likely to be indicative of a caddis hatch or of something similar.

Anglers have reported fish jumping and breaching around the mat night with some nights proving successful and with some anglers gettingtheir limit bag at times, though there are much slower nights reported. Night patterns have been Craig’s Night Times, Mrs Simpson, rabbit pattern, lumo-style patterns, or similar bully/Koura imitations.

All these flies have proven the pick and have taken fish,though it would be worth noting that it wouldn’t be a silly idea to run a nymphing setup.  Run a small soft dry fly pattern with a nymph dropper underneath like a small caddis, and this would likely take fish on nights when the bully/Koura patterns aren’t getting touched.

The Ohau Channel is still producing fish at times, so is still worth checking out.  Early morning or dusk is best on feeding times or when there’s a good southerly blow and pushes and mixes up the flow creating a smorgasbord chop of food.

I also find a good time to fish there is a few hours before stormy weather gets the fish feeding vigorously.

Lakes Tarawera and Rotoiti has provided some great action for boat anglers now with the temperatures running over the 18-degree mark, so expect some hot action this coming month.

Top flies have been Pat Swift’s Grey Ghosts and Slimy Ghosts.

Report Courtesy of Kilwell Sports and Rotorua Sight Fishing


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