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New Zealand Autumn/Fall Fly Fishing
– Fly Fishing

For the fly fisherman, any change of season sees a shift in focus and technique with the transition from summer to autumn/fall being no exception.

In New Zealand, as warm summer days give way to cooler autumn temps the gradual decline in numbers of noisy bumbling cicadas is one obvious change.

For some anglers the decline in cicada numbers signals the end to their preferred summer / dry fly fishing but curiously (happily) fish are still willing to hit big stimulator patterns weeks after the last cicada has chirped its last chirp. I’m not sure why the fish behave this way… perhaps it’s simply a case of trout associating large floating terrestrials with an easy meal from their previous months of gorging on an over-abundance of naturals.

Whatever the explanation, autumn is not a sign to pack away the fly rod and hang up the waders. If fly fishers are prepared to adapt and vary their angling approach then March / April / May can be very rewarding months.

Typically, water temperatures are cool and trout are active throughout the day vs going into afternoon doldrums in the afternoon when temps climb. Brown trout especially will move into shallow riffles and can be targeted by sight fishing with small dries and dry / dropper rigs.

To be fair, back country fishing does slow at this time of year and rainbows especially become far less inclined to surface feed and are more likely to take weighted nymphs. Not everyone’s cup of tea perhaps, but I for one, certainly don’t have any issues with switching techniques to accommodate seasonal differences in trout feeding / behaviour.

Picking up on this theme, autumn is also the time of year migratory rainbows and very large browns move into the Taupo tributaries. The browns especially attain trophy size. In my estimate 6 pounds / 24 inches would be “average” size for these migratory fish. Certainly, smaller specimens are caught, but there are also some much much larger examples… well into double digits. Sighted fishing is the preferred approach, and although these large brown trout are never easy, the potential reward is a trophy trout of a lifetime.

So… autumn traditionally means crisp nights / windless days (unusual in NZ), plenty of interesting fishing options and viewing pics of the day’s catch with a glass of local red by the fire… Works for me!

Cheers, Grant

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