The Mangatainoka River, it’d delivered the goods for us plenty of times before and this time it didn’t disappoint either. Plenty of fish on the nymph and a bit of late May dry fly action that put me on the end of a couple of bullets.
The day started off with a change to the normal spot where we kick the day off. The local council had been in with some heavy machinery and had changed the river around a bit, pushing the main flow all down one chute, destroying a couple of good ‘guaranteed fish’ spots. After chatting with a local later, I discovered the work had been done about 6 weeks ago, with a weir being re-built an gravel extraction. The rocks were looking a bit clean to be fishy looking, but am sure it will fire after a couple of floods and a winter worth of algae and bug build up. I still decided to fish the likely looking lies which turned up a couple of fish for me, a nice 2lb brown, a couple of juveniles and on the last cast another nice 2lb’er – rainbow.
After an hour or so I decided to head down river to a piece of water I’d fished a few years back and wanted to push up further into. After working away just downstream of the entry point, where I hooked into and then dropped a very good sized rainbow (it managed to snag me on a rock), I made moves to get up river. Ten minutes walking and I was back in a pool where I’d pulled a few out of last time, so decided to hit it again. Two minutes later I was rigged up, then two minutes after that I was re-rigged up after hearing and then seeing a fish rise (a late May hatch…?). It took a few casts to get the fly in the right spot, but after dropping one, I hooked into a bullet. Straight after the strike it ripped off down stream, I only just got it under control before it screamed back upstream and leaped into the air. Next minute I was running down stream, looking like a complete muppet with my rod in the air trying to bound over rocks in thick waders – it wasn’t pretty. But after easing (read: just manage to keep in touch with) the fish down through a good rapid, I managed to pull it in close enough to get the net under – great battle and stoked it was on the dry.
The next couple of hours were spent nymphing my way through runs and riffles, picking up fish every so often, a few of them were juveniles while the rest gave up solid battles – their was something in the water that day. After deciding it was time to head back down to the car, I was wandering past the ‘dry fly pool’ again and saw another couple of fish rising. So the dry went back on and after about 6 casts another bullet was towing me around the pool, this time I managed to run/wade across the pool to the bank where it was going to be much easier to land the fish. After about 5 mins of getting dragged in and out from the bank the 2.5lb jack came into the net – it was nicely coloured up and had plenty left in him, he bolted straight away after I released him.
The Mangatainoka had turned out another good session must have been about 10 hooked and 7 landed. It will be a few months before I’m back there, but hopefully by then the new structures will have chilled out and there will be some great new water.