The rivers at Lake Taupo are full of fish after a slow start to the winter spawning runs.
In fact the annual migration of adult trout up the spawning tributaries have been getting later and the peak runs seem to be occurring in late October.
The Tongariro and Tauranga-Taupo Rivers are reported to be full of fish and the size and condition of the fresh-run trout is also improving.
After rain when the rivers are discoloured the downstream wet-liners do well, with traditional patterns like red setter, olive woolly buggers and rabbits in red and orange all popular.
But as the rivers drop and clear, the natural nymph patterns and small glo-bugs come into their own.
Harling on the lake in the early mornings is always productive at this time of year, but more fish in poor condition after spawning will be picked up closer to the surface.
The better conditioned fish will be taken deep, either with downriggers or wire lines, or jigging.
The old mainstay lures like the spotted gold cobra, traffic light and black toby are always hard to beat, and if deep trolling is not working it is more to do with the depth and where the lures are being fished than the lure itself.
In Rotorua trolling and harling on the lakes has picked up, with more trout chasing smelt on all the lakes.
The reason Rotoiti and Rotorua produce particularly fast trout growth is the abundance and size of the smelt in the lakes, which can be attributed to the rich nutrients in the water.
While this contributes to fast growth of both smelt and trout, it can also signal a problem in mid-summer when algal blooms appear.
On Lake Tarawera the best fish in terms of both size and condition are coming from depths up to 40m, with some nice trout of 2.5-3kg reported, and they are full of koura.
Only the larger fish can tackle the crayfish, but they are always fat with salmon-red flesh.
Smaller juveniles are more common at 20m, so varying the depth fished is always a smart move.
In the Hauraki Gulf drifting has been working well, and in windy conditions a drogue or sea anchor helps keep the bow towards the wind. This also allows anglers to employ both lures like slow jigs and soft plastics, and baits.
Small chunks of cut squid have been working well, along with pilchards. Water temperatures are creeping up slowly and hitting 16.5C, but have some way to go. Fine weather during the week will help.
The popular fishing grounds closer in continue to improve, with snapper coming from the Rangitoto Channel out by A Buoy, in the Rakino Channel and on the Worm Beds. Drifting with soft baits along the edge of the channels is worth trying, particularly at first light.
The west coast has fished better and conditions have finally allowed boats to get out, with snapper hooked on fresh mullet baits all the way from 2m out to 60m of water. Inside the Manukau Harbour trevally and gurnard have been fishing well, but kahawai and snapper are harder to find. Scallops in the harbour are in good condition, and flounder are turning up. Netting and spearing should only improve with summer.
The Firth of Thames has also improved with a lot of fish in the 4-5kg range being caught, both on the mussel farms and out wide.
The blue water has not arrived in the Hauraki Gulf but fishing out around Great Barrier Island has been good in 40-45m, with hapuku moving in to 130m outside Barrier. There are more kingfish than at this time last year, which is a good sign for those targeting kings through the summer.
In the Bay of Islands the big shoals of bait fish have not moved into the bay so the congregations of birds are not evident yet, but fishing at dusk is best off Tapeka Pt and the Centre Foul. Kingfish can be hooked at the 71m reef and on the deep reefs off Rocky Pt along the 50m line, and skipjack tuna have been reported out off Whangaroa.
Tip of the week
When deep trolling for trout on the deep lakes it is always an advantage to have the wind behind you. This gives better steerage, and when a fish is hooked the boat won't be pushed back towards the fish. The depth can be varied by stopping occasionally and allowing the lines to sink, and a trout is often hooked when the power is applied as this changes the action of the lure. Giving the engine a surge occasionally has the same effect and often results in a strike. It is all about varying the depth and action of the lure, rather than changing a proven lure because the fishing is slow.
Bite times are 12.30am and 1pm tomorrow and 1.25am and 1.55pm on Sunday. More fishing action can be found at GTTackle.co.nz.