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Lake Maraetai Trout Fishing

After a successful trip to Waipapa, we decided to stay the night on the boat, for the first of our overnight missions. This time we had just the one fibreglass boat and slept 4 lads in it. We didn't get any fish the first night but we enjoyed some delicious beef cheek stew from Chef Mazzer. Hot food is great when you're staying on a boat in Mangakino in May!
Waking up on the Lake at dawn is pretty magical and highly recommended. Perfectly still, the sun starts to glow on the horizon as fish swirl on the surface. The night before, we'd motored to the other side of the Lake from Mangakino and anchored up in the still water next to a lot of weed beds. Just as the sun was coming up, I managed to pick up a 2lb brown fishing a size 10 olive damselfly nymph imitation on my fast sinking Airflo 40 plus DI7 line (which sinks at 7 inches per second). This was our first success fishing the weed beds in the slower parts of the Hydro Lakes but this form of fishing would become a key part of the Hydro Explorer Tour on future trips.
The bad weather held off just long enough to enjoy some pancakes and bacon from Chef Mazzer. The weather started hosing down and a large wakeboard boat started doing the rounds, so we headed further up the Lake. Here we entered the Mangakino stream under the Waikato River Trails cycle suspension bridge. The stream narrows to wind its way through large cliffs.
The Mangakino stream had a lot of small rainbows and the occasional larger brown. We had fun fishing spinners on the surface, above the mix of weed and shallow sand banks on the inside bends in the river – as we drifted downstream. We have learned that these kinds of shallow weed beds with patches of exposed sand always hold fish on the Hydro Lakes, whether it's in the main Lake or the side streams. Drift fishing this stream with streamers and a floating fly line would be good fun.
Next we moved back into the main part of the Lake and headed for the faster moving water at the top of the Lake and fishing on the bottom, bouncing a sinker and wet fly along the bottom. Here I picked up a 3lb brown.
The weather was freezing and it didn't stop raining, so Chef Mazzer had hatched a plan for doing tempura fried trout and kumara slices. The perfect warm-up cure. Until we decided to dip pieces of chocolate into the batter and had grease-overload.

When we filleted the fish on the bait board at the back of the boat, some blood and small pieces of fish had washed out the back of the boat. Incredibly, a good sized brown was cruising around in this like a small kingfish behind a berley pot! We whipped out a toby and hooked the fish about a metre from the rod tip, needless to say it was all a bit much for his mouth and he spat the hook. It showed just how predatory the large brown trout can be. Plenty more of that on the next trip — Whakamaru!


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