The central highland backwater lagoons seemed to hold a good number of decent sized fish. After the wind settled down it was possible to spot several of them cruising about. Catching them would not be so easy, as the fish became quite vary in the clear water. I tried to sneak into casting position several times, but the fish saw me and either got spooked or remained calm unimpressed with my attempts. The windless conditions did not last long as the wind once again made its way down the valley. Visibility was still good and with the sun in my back I was still able to spot trout cruising about. As the wind increased the surface water started to move almost like in a river. I spotted several trout either cruising at very slow speed or standing still in the “current” facing “upwind”.
I tried several dries at them, but they were obviously not looking up. I had to serve up something wet and tied on a damsel + corixa nymph combination. After several attempts at casting the flies “upwind” and drifting towards the fish there was no interest whatsoever. I am sure the fish saw my flies, but without any reactions I tried another approach. I moved “upwind” from the fish and put the nymphs slightly ahead and past the fish, turning the flies just ahead of the fish in a classic streamer technique. As the nymph rig made its turn the fish reacted immediately and took the damsel nymph. I then went on to catch a couple of more fish in the 5-6 pound range using the same tactics. My terrible South Island skunkedness had finally been defeated, but I knew very well it could come back sooner than later. I was still learning the lay of the land and catching fish every day would not be easy.