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Winter trout fishing 2021 (NZ)


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Not much to report of late. We're in deep winter and the weather is hard to predict. I visited my regular trout fishing spot recently. The lakes were crystal clear and the weather was good.

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I may have mentioned this before, but I like to fish for trout at this venue using coarse fishing methods. I make no apologies for this! Firstly, for some reason the trout in these lakes are almost impossible to catch on fly or lure. Secondly, this is my only opportunity to do a bit of "coarse" fishing as we have no other freshwater fish in my region apart from eels which don't interest me. It is completely legal to fish for trout with bait in these lakes, but ground baiting is not allowed. I prefer to float fish just for the sheer enjoyment. 

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Bite time is predictable in these lakes. It is between 11:00 and 12:00. At 11:20, the float dipped under! I rushed it a bit and managed to miss the fish. I cast straight back in to the same spot and the float went under again. I gave it a little time and hooked in to a hard fighting fish. Since I was only using a 4lb leader and the area was relatively free of snags, I took my time and manage to beach a nice cock fish of around 4lb.

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The fish was bled, gutted and put on ice before repeating the process. I was just tucking in to a sandwich when I heard the reel drag screaming! A bigger, even harder fighting fish was hooked. After a tussle, I landed a solid 6lb cock rainbow.  

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The fishing went quiet after this excitement. I made myself a hot chocolate on the camp stove and relaxed. An hour or two later, I was thinking about packing up, when the float dipped under and bobbed back up. Down it went again, I struck and had a short fight with a nicely conditioned hen fish of around 3lb. That was my bag limit of three fish and I headed home afterwards. Fantastic day on the water!

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The fish were filleted as soon as I got home. I did a maple syrup, sugar and salt cure on two of the fillets. One of those fillets was hot smoked and it was excellent. I will cold smoke the other fillet later today. The remaining fillets were vacuum packed and frozen for another time.

 

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What do the wild cock fish taste like and what colour is the flesh. Are they similar to wild brown trout or closer to salmon?

 

We only get farmed triploids in the UK that taste like mud. 

Edited by markm
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15 minutes ago, markm said:

What do the wild cock fish taste like and what colour is the flesh. Are they similar to wild brown trout or closer to salmon?

Much closer to salmon than the trout I've eaten previously. Fillets are pink, even red at times.

13 minutes ago, chrisjpainter said:

Nice work, sir. What bait were you using? 

Interesting that they don't take flies; is that the case even in a hatch season? 

Whole prawn with shell on. Bait is about 5 inches long. I can't say they don't ever take flies. One is caught on the fly every once in a while, but not by me sadly and not through lack of trying! 

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11 hours ago, ratchers said:

Brilliant fishing, I think your bait is bigger than some of the trout I have caught!

I do wonder if they are switched on to larger prey. Maybe I need some 5 inch flies! The mainstay of the trout's diet is freshwater crayfish, hence the pink flesh and their preference for large prawn baits. I'll have to try and get some pike or saltwater flies. 

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On 15/08/2021 at 12:36, Houseplant said:

Do we have eels?! Google NZ eels and prepared to be impressed if that's your thing. Unfortunately, not my thing, but here's a video of my son playing with a couple of small specimens.

 

That's awesome!  I presume they're the same species of eel we get over here from the looks of them?  But that was mahooosive!  I've caught them up to around 1lb in the Nene around Peterborough.

How did your lad react to getting the slime on his hands, it's horrible old snot! 🤮

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Same family as the European eel, but a different species (Anguilla anguilla vs Anguilla australis australis). Trust me, the eels in the video are just babies! They grow to conger size. It's a bit weird having these monsters swimming around in small streams and farm ponds. Boy was fine with the slime, he's a boy. Probably quite liked it!

 

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On 17/08/2021 at 03:48, Houseplant said:

Same family as the European eel, but a different species (Anguilla anguilla vs Anguilla australis australis). Trust me, the eels in the video are just babies! They grow to conger size. It's a bit weird having these monsters swimming around in small streams and farm ponds. Boy was fine with the slime, he's a boy. Probably quite liked it!

 

Ah OK, so do you know whether these ones stay in their habitat all of their lives or if they migrate to a breeding ground in the same way as ours head to the Sargasso Sea?

Of course... boys, snot, what's not to like 😂

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On 21/08/2021 at 00:00, Houseplant said:

Yes, similar life cycle. Wikipedia tells me that they travel to the deep trenches of the Coral Sea to breed.

Ah that's interesting.  A couple of thousand miles less than the trip from Blighty to the Sargasso, but impressive nonetheless that they just "know" where to go.

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