At 6am next Saturday a siren will mark the signal to start casting and dozens of anglers lined up along the banks of the Ohau Channel will send their lines out across the water, all hoping to be the first to hook a trout.
The channel, where it runs out of Lake Rotorua on the short journey to Lake Rotoiti, is the premier fly fishing spot in the district at this time of year. The trout congregate to chase the smelt which migrate through the channel from Lake Rotoiti to spawn in the shallow banks on the eastern side of Lake Rototua.
For the fly fishers at the channel, a sinking line cast across the current with a short leader and a smelt fly will be the combination of choice. Dark coloured flies will give way to silver, yellow and translucent colours as the sun rises.
And they will catch fish; rainbow trout of 2kg or 3kg, and occasionally a brown trout of 5kg or 6kg will be brought to the bank " particularly at night.
Other anglers will set out in runabouts on the three big lakes " Rotoiti, Okataina and Tarawera " eager to get their lures in the water at 6am. Harling with a sinking fly line and a smelt pattern or a red setter will be popular for the first few hours. Many anglers also slow troll with lines which sink only a metre or two, but prefer a lure on the end " perhaps a pink cobra or a toby.
The boats will follow the line where weed beds fall away to the depths. If the wind chops the surface, this method will produce strikes through the day. Otherwise the surface lines will be replaced by lead-core trolling outfits with five or six colours put out, and a long trace.
Some anglers will try jigging, drifting outside the drop-off and dropping a trace with a lead sinker or jig on the end, and a couple of flies on droppers above it. This method will become more effective as lake temperatures rise, peaking in December and January. Smelt and trout are concentrated along the thermocline where temperatures change. The trout are not as concentrated in the water column in early October.
Tides are average in terms of height as the new moon approaches and the next week, leading up to the new moon on Saturday, is a good one for fishing.
The snapper are moving closer with reports of fish numbers building up north of Whangaparaoa Peninsula where there are good concentrations of bait like pilchards, with gannets and dolphins also in the area; and north of The Noises.
The next three months are usually one of the best times to be fishing the west coast, from New Plymouth to the far north, and it is a question of dropping baits on ledger rigs and waiting for the fish to turn up.
Harbours such as the Manukau and Kaipara should also improve as water temperatures warm and snapper move in to join the kahawai, gurnard and trevally.
Tip of the week
It is a good idea to add a fly like a parson's glory or red setter ahead of the lure when trolling on the lakes. An easy method is to insert a small swivel in the trace a metre ahead of the lure and the fly rests above the swivel. The fly is an extra attractant.
Bite times: Bite times today are 6.30am and 7pm, and tomorrow at 8.30am and 8.55pm. These are based on the moon phase and position, not tides, so apply to the whole country. More fishing action can be found at www.GTtackle.co.nz