Mon. Feb 26th, 2024


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Tackle and tactics: summer trout

3 min read
Wilderness river trout focus on cicadas

Wilderness river trout focus on cicadas. Photo: Fred Hemi

The words of George Gershwin’s song Summertime from Porgy and Bess go like this: Summertime, and the livin’ is easy, fish are jumping.

Summertime is great for trout because of summer insects such as cicadas that can send trout into a feeding frenzy – something to keep in mind during fishing.

The insects start to emerge from the ground after New Year and trout are quick to seize the opportunity to grab the big bite-sized meal that fall into the water.

I have fished in the Ureweras in summer and the rattling of the cicadas is loud. It is the time to put on a fly that imitates a cicada that has fallen in the water.

The South Island is the same with high country trout often feeding on cicadas.

Cicadas are a big meal compared to small aquatic insects. One cicada must equate to a hundred or more mayfly nymphs. So who can blame the trout for homing in on a cicada meal?

Lure away

A cicada is a juicy mouthful for a trout. Photo: Fred Hemi

Many years ago when fishing the South Island on holiday in the Ahuriri River, I found a fish steadily feeding. I tried nymph fly after nymph but the fish ignored all.

Then I found a big bulky nymph in my fly box and tossed that. It took straight away.

I needed a trout for dinner so I killed it and examined its stomach. It was full of cicadas, about 15 big juicy morsels.

The big bulky nymph had passed for a cicada tumbling down in the current.

On the Tutaekuri River in Hawke’s Bay, I came across trout feeding in a willow-lined stretch not far upstream from Taradale. I tied a Muddler Minnow and hooked and landed fish after fish.

The Muddler Minnow is an unusual fly of American design and is tied from deer hair so it is pretty buoyant. It can be fished as a fly lure, retrieving it across and around or as a dry fly to imitate a cicada.

You will find many cicada imitation flies in tackle shops. It is always advisable to carry one or two.

As Norman Marsh wrote in his wonderful book Trout Stream Insects in New Zealand, “May the backcountry angler tread in peril of fishless days who does not include in his repertoire of trout flies one that at least looks something like a cicada.”

If you tie up your own flies, you can fashion a cicada imitation; something like a Muddler Minnow. The imitation fly does not have to be exact. An approximation will do just fine.

Or if you do not know where to start, search a tying recipe on Google. If you do not tie your own flies, there are some very life-like imitation flies in almost every tackle shop.

You can fish a cicada pattern blind by just prospecting water or you can look for feeding fish and then cast your cicada imitation to it. If it is focused on cicadas, it will take the fly. Good luck with your fishing.

Trout fishing rivers

Here are some of the trout fishing rivers found in New Zealand:

  • Ohinemuri river
  • Lake Rotorua and Tributaries
  • Tauranga-Taupo River
  • Stony river
  • Ngaruroro River
  • Lake Mangamahoe
  • Kapuni Stream
  • Tukituki river
  • Otaki River
  • Wairau river
  • Hurunui river
  • Ashburton river

Source: NZ Trout app

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