Just back from a 4 day weekend fish on the Rangitaiki River (North Island, New Zealand; near Rotorua). It was a great weekend. Weather was good until Monday, when it started to drizzle.

I landed 19 trout; all rainbows, had about 10 more hookups, and 23 or so strikes/touches (I kept a daily fishing journal). Size 14 Deer Hair Caddis were being hit about mid-day, although at dusk and on Monday (which was overcast and cool), I was doing better with a Professor and a Tup's Indespensible. Also working on some of the slower stretches was a Whickham's Fancy.

I only had 2 Deer Hair Caddis flies, so when they were both slimed and refused to float, I switched to a size 12 Invicta wet fly and that worked very well; hooked into an estimated 2.5+ lbs brown and landed a fair number of 1 - 1.5 lbs rainbows. Also productive was a Doc Spratly tied in size 14 (which I think were taken as a stonefly).

The largest fish I landed was a 48 cm, 2.25 lbs rainbow, which took a size 12 pheasant and orange soft hackle (hackle is one of the chesnut brown feathers from the wing of a cock pheasant) after I spooked it twice trying a dry fly. I landed 4 or 5 with soft hackles.

I took one on a peeking stick caddis nymph (size 12), and had a touch and a hook up on a rust coloured mayfly nymph. However, given the success of the dry fly and wets, I didn't nymph much.

Basically, the fishing was great. The weather was wonderful, until it packed it in on Monday and Tuesday. Size 14 was the most productive size, and Deer Hair Caddis was the most "touched" pattern. However, every day I saw caddis, mayflies, stoneflies, midges, and butterflies around so it's a matter of trying a bit of everything. Once the sun came out and the temperature rose a bit, the soft hackles were working a treat in the faster glides, as were the various wets. Lots of rising fish could be found all through the day, and it was just a matter of figuring out if they were onto the caddis or the mayflies.

- Jeff