After our adventurous start, Felix and I have stuck to more familiar waters for the rest of my trip at Owen River Lodge. Yesterday we fished the mighty Maruia. After the scree slope scrambles and clifftop dead-ends of Saturday, it seemed almost too easy to park the car beside the all-weather gravel road and stroll across green fields to the river.
The trout didn’t seem to begrudge us the easy access though. The first pool I fished produced two browns of 4 & 5.5 pounds; both on a tungsten Hares Ear. Pleased with my early success, I caught up with Felix only to learn he’d already caught three, then watched him hook a fourth before he’d finished describing the successful nymph (a gold beaded Copper John variant.)
The fishing followed the same pattern for the rest of day. The river was carrying a tinge of colour from rain 48 hours earlier and many of the trout were nymphed up blind, searching the bouldery edges and eyes that abound on the Maruia. However we also spotted a few, and these took eagerly.
We finished with a dozen between us and besides a two pound upstart, the rest were 4 to 5 pounders in lovely end of season condition.
It was only last night that the conditions finally started to deteriorate. By this morning, a cold front had brought an inch of rain to the valleys, and snow to the mountains around us. The rivers rose and coloured up overnight, although we managed to sight a few beauties by concentrating on some smaller rivers, and I landed one.
As I write this in the lodge the rain has eased again and I may even manage a final fish before evening. But whether I do or not, I can’t think of a better way to finish my April fishing, and the ‘regular’ South Island season which closes in two days. I’ve now enjoyed the late season fishing in this part of the South Island several times, and it’s always been a great experience. Why there aren’t more anglers out enjoying this time of year is anyone’s guess, but if you ever get the chance next season, do yourself a favour…