Moods of the O

Once a year, I make the pilgrimage to lake Otamanukau, always vowing to be back sooner and yet never managing to do so. Leaving is always painful but that clear head of fresh memories of the highs, lows, trials and tribulations of a fly fishing trip make it a peaceful parting. This trip was no different. It was hard and moody but another great trip in the beautiful Central Plateau!

So Close!

There is so much much to love about Lake Otamanukau; from the cool, crisp air blowing off the mountain looming in the background, the porpoising rainbows or the ginormous browns stalking their way around the edges. It’s not always an easy lake but when it’s on, it is a magic fishery with fish of legends, and like any trip there, myself and my compadre Leon hoped to nail one of those O behemoths.

A misty morning on Lake Otamangakau

Arriving the morning after the Taupo earthquake however found the fish to be spooky and the activity on the lake rather low. Those who stuck it out in one place, either parked up in the weed beds or laying wait camouflaged in with the shoreline scenery, seemingly had the most success when things did perk up for moments but it was hard. Cool wind blowing off the mountain kept things rather subdued but fish it we did and success came in small waves.

Leon stopping for a morning coffee and a booby to match.

The browns were really on edge this trip, whether it was the shaky start or the fact that the weekend before sounded like it had been an absolute barnburner with the sharks in town. But we both managed a few. Unfortunately, they didn’t stay on long enough to greet the lens this trip but the tales remain and good times were had!

A streamer munching Lake O rainbow

Great trip and if you haven’t checked out Lake Otamangakau, I surely suggest you do as you will not be disappointed! It’s moody, but aren’t we all at times!


Simon is a keen enthusiast for fly fishing, especially all things trout Spey and Skagit style tactics. He's a keen fly tyer, with a strong focus on tube flies, leech and Intruders style patterns. He has been with Iloveflyfishing since the early days and has been a key ambassador for OPST, Aquaz and Speyco as well as all of the ILFF catalogue. He is also a man-keen saltwater fly fisher and can often be found flicking a Crazy Simon fly around the Auckland region. Simon is a regular contributor to NZ Trout Fisher magazine where you can find his column "On the Swing with Simon"

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