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Olwyn McNickle you certainly have a lot to answer for. Here was me happy retired from writing the “Talking Plenty “ column for the Troutfisher magazine, when Olwyn cornered me in Taltac’s kitchen and talked me into to doing a few words and pictures for this mag … btw said magazine (https://nztroutfisher.co.nz/) is probably one of the better digital reads with, superb photos, that you will find around.
Well now let’s get into the business of catching a trophy trout at Lake Otamangakau. Boat is the preferred method, although the are some good spots at the end of the road the runs along the top of the dam on the western side. Right where the roads runs out you can drift your nymph rig out over the drop off, and just wait. If you are after the browns than take an intermediate line, attach a woolly bugger (as pictured), with a 15-foot 10lb trace, try and spot your fish and strip very fast across the shallows.
Now if you do have a boat then one of the best rigs is as follows. Tie you bottom fly, a yellow snail, yes believe it, that fly imitates a snail, about 3 feet below a damsel fly or blood worm, and then another 7 foot to your indicator, which is made of mic fly foam, and then another 2 feet to your main line. Ideally your boat will need a Minn Koda to control your drift, but at a minimum you will need a drogue to slow you down.
Now where to fish? The lake has large patches of weed, with channels and holes in between. Its these channels you want to drift through, so study the wind to allow this. If the sun is out, then watch out for the deeper holes and cast to land in them as you go past. The fish normally take slowly, and so strike hard if you see the slightest movement of the indicator. Even if you do land in what you think is a bit of a weedy patch, just don’t move it, as often your flies will sit just in between the weed, and only hook up when you move them. If you are having no luck after a decent go, check the water temperature, go to an end of the Lake where the temperature is a little higher.
If all else fails them I suggest you hire a guide, and you can’t go past Jason from the Creel. His boat is all set up for easy fishing for two people, and his expert advice “normally” carries the day. I often fish with my mate Murray Denyer, pictured above with a lovely trophy brown. Although relatively new to the club, Murray is now fully engaged in helping out, including using his legal skills to help us draft and update the Club’s Constitution.
To end on a note that might just get everyone a bit keen to give Lake O a try, in the last 3 trips we have taken a double figure fish, or near to, every trip, and the one I am pictured with above towed us 150m and took 25 minutes to get to the net. I have to say Jason, you aren’t doing bad as a guide given you were just a Farm boy from the Naki.