i got to use that new net.
after leaving Hanmer Springs, i decided i would check out that lake i mentioned, Lake Daniells. what i read about it said it was a fairly easy hike and the scenery was worth it alone, so i went there. there were also rainbow trout in that lake. i had yet to catch a rainbow so that was on the to-do list as well. the lake:
and the hut there:
being there reminded me of Daicey Pond and that other pond some "heathens" go to in the spring-time. it was a great change of pace. unfortunately the lake never calmed down completely and i think it just wasn't warm enough for any sizeable hatch to happen, but i landed two rainbows, one about three pounds:
i had a strike from a very nice fish that broke me off immediately. i stayed there two nights and on the first, i shared the hut with a couple of brothers who were enjoying time together as one lived in Christchurch and the other in Wellington. they were very nice guys and they certainly had different eating agendas than i did. they treated me to glasses of what i took to be very fine wine, white and red, and cheeses and spreads of various types. it was a delicious treat. thanks guys!
i hiked out a couple days later and decided i would fish a small river for the rest of the day. it was a fairly good hike in to where the track me the river but soon enough i was fishing. "fishing" that afternoon meant a lot of walking. i bet i walked 4 or more miles on that river and i spotted only 3 fish. the first one i couldn't get to take. the second one was rising and on one drift he came up right next to my fly so i lifted my rod to set the hook but pulled the fly out of the water with a "bloppp!" which put the fish down. i cursed and continued upstream for quite a while before i saw another fish feeding. the first good drift i got over this one and the fish came up and took the size 14 parachute adams. a lengthy battle ensued and once i finally had this fish in the net and took a weight reading, i couldn't believe my eyes. he would go eight and a half pounds. my biggest of the trip so far. a truly amazing fish. i was speechless. Paul, i want to make sure that your fish dedication is truly to your approval, so this fish is also for you:
i decided that would be a fine end to the day so i started the treck back to the van. while doing so i came upon the pool where the second fish feeding earlier. sure enough it was feeding again. i sent that same fly down the riffle and a pair of hand-sized jaws came up and snatched the fly. i stung him good and soon he was in the net. a 7 pounder. Clarka, this one's for you bro:
it was a pretty incredible day to say the least. from there, i headed north to Reefton. i found a local pub and met a few nice guys from the west coast. we shot some pool and had a few beers while the Canterbury-Wellington rugby game played on the television. i camped that night at the car park of a four wheel drive road that would take me to a hut at the confluence of a stream and a river. i had fished the river, downstream, the day before and hadn't seen much in there, so my plans were to fish the stream.
this "track" was/is pretty shitty. most of it looked like this:
it was kind of annoying to hike along and it was a pretty sizeable walk as well, about three hours. near the end, i was getting annoyed and cursing the track. i finally got to the hut and in the pool directly next to the hut, a nice fish was feeding. i smiled. i rigged up and on the first cast, i hooked that fish. soon he was in the net, a beautiful fish of 6 pounds. as requested, here is a very pretty fish for you, Miss Vanessa:
so after that display, i decided i would fish the river first. i got one more nice fish on the river. this one is for Desneige. here's the picture of a fish swimming free for you!
after fishing the river for a while i turned around to get back to the stream and fish that. i walked for what seemed to be way too long and sure enough it was, as i had walked past the stream. i got back on that 4WD track and realized i had walked by it for a good ways. i suppose this might've been my punishment for cursing the road earlier. i wonder if things work out like that on purpose. there i was, swearing at the track and later, there i am, walking on it again. but then again, at the end of the track there was that great fish waiting. hmm...
so after i made it back to "home" for the night, i finally made it to the stream and started fishing. i spooked one fish, then got a take from a great fish. this fish took a size 14 green humpy. another great fish, in a very tight stream, this one would go 5 pounds. this one is for the great people at Hotel Vandertie, Rick and Lynn:
on my walk out this morning, i came across some Department of Conservation guys working on a new swing bridge. they were incredibly nice and we talked for close to 15 minutes about fishing, the DOC, the hut, the bridge, the economy (US and NZ), life, etc. after leaving these guys to their work, i soon passed another truck with some DOC guys in it. they stopped and asked me how the fishing was. i told them i had got 3 fish. these guys, and the two i had just left were both surprised, almost disappointed that i had released all my fish. i found this odd. granted, i do not see a lot of fish in the river, but i would venture to say that fish populations in this river are not high. wouldn't they want to promote catch and release? just seemed odd to me. but who i am to say?
in a few minutes i'm going to consult the atlas and head out again. it will be some combination of these directions: north and west.
a couple more pics from the past few days: