Autumn time produces some incredible colouration as the Browns look to woo the opposite sex.
Setting my gaze upon the zen of autumn colors beyond the glass pane I have been living through; the trees are ablaze while walnuts drop rhythmically as the mid-morning sun hits the leaves. I catch my mind drifting towards memories of the lowland browns rising to mayflies of the famous Southland region.
A slight reprieve from the issues COVID 19 has set upon us. This unprecedented event has served as a reminder to make the most of the opportunities at hand. It has me eager with anticipation at the chance to taste this sweet delight again as NZ anglers are allowed to wet their lines locally for three days before our lowland rivers close at the end of April.
The strongest and fittest browns will be making their annual migratory spawning run upstream with an appetite as long as the river runs. A true testament to Salmo Trutta resilient nature as they have endured and survived a flood for the history books this year. It amazes me how quickly an ecosystem can adapt and recover. The Mayflies are repopulating the riverbeds and triggering this magical time.
Willow grubs falling from the willow leaves to the yellow leaves falling from the willow trees is a sign these times are on their way.
Autumn happens to be my favourite time of year to fish. The colder temperatures bring on some prolific hatches when browns line up to sip delicate offerings in the surface film, with the hatches starting earlier in the day.The settled weather, the plethora of colour that mottles the hillsides, the low angle of the sun kissing your face in contrast to the cool crisp fresh air brings a sense of calmness that washes over the mind and creates moments of zen. These are the states of clarity that subtly relax the mind and, in turn, make fly fishing such a delight. Absorbed in these moments, a witness to nature's beauty unfolding, the ecosystem shows off in all its glory as an uplifting snout moves toward a hatching Dun about to take its first flight. At the same time, a willow leaf gracefully flutters to the surface. The care of whether the brown in front of you, that's preoccupied with inhaling tiny mayfly emergers, is going to take your offering or not, slowly becomes irrelevant, and all feels right in the world. The attention turns towards swallows dipping to the water's surface poetically competing with trout for the emerging morsels as the fantails above acrobatically pick off the escapees from the airborne drift. The trout previously invisible lose their inhibitions and bulge, dimple, and kiss the surface of the living stream, leaving rings on the shimmering surface. Do I cast or not?
These are the late March and April times I cherish. So here's to next season for the anglers and clients who missed the opportunities for such moments. I hope you all stay well and safe and we can make such plans for the future.
Warm regards, Todd
Just a short drive from Queenstown