Saturday, December 20, 2014

The well-known meadow or the first overnight campout

Thus I arrived Tuesday evening at Lake Rotoroa, passing the famous according lodge (to my surprise it was pre-seasonally closed) and setting up camp at the simple campground close to the lake that seems to have a special appeal to  sandflies. Some years ago we had the same plan but due to the even worse sandflies invasion we choose to go for a hard roof at a nearby B&B - that as many other houses in that settlement - is now up for sale. 

The whole day I could not reach the boat taxi to arrange for the morning transfer to the lake head, thus my delight was high as they arrived with their boat to slip it to the lake. Seemed they were out for the day. I made arrangements for the next morning transfer to the chosen river mouth.

Cooking dinner (beef filet nicely structured and some read) right on the lake beach, camp, sleep, sandflies.

Next morning packing the back pack for the overnighter with the new Vaude Ultralite Tent and the Yeti VIB 600 luxury down sleeping bag (the last trip we had the VIB 250 which is a good blanked as long as it is +10°C but not below - I learned from experience...) and off we were across the lake. 

The trail's first section is flat out, then around 100meters of steep elevation again and back down to the river reaching what I would call the first meadow (using Yellowstone's Slough Creek famous meadow system here) to put up camp. Did that and started to fish. 

It started to rain sometimes lightly and sometimes more heavily. But the fish - hard to spot due to the overcast sky - came more or less ready to my flies (Adams and special Florian PT nymphs). Five fish of something of around 4,5lbs up to +7lbs - a good start! And good to be back to such a nice river with water tasting so sweet!

No campfire that night, just some tortellini and two cans of beer and then horizontal position.

The night saw some more rain. Unfortunately proofing that my ultralite Vaude SUL was not so well constructed: as inner and outer tent unavoidably touched each other the tent was just leaking and by sleeping bag was in danger to get soaked up... Making a picture of that mess did not work as the front lens was immediately fogged up.

Breakfast in some drizzle. Getting ready for the next round. I started somewhat below the camp and fishing part of the day before stretch again - not wise and not to be followed. Still I caught three browns of around 6 lbs. - again on the dry and nymph. The rain eased and got stronger and so on, but the river did rise only inches over the rainy night and was still clear as gin. This river seems to be quiet tolerant to some rain and only rises and discolors after heavy rain. Looking back to that overnighter, hiking up for the camp some half hour further would have been good, but I did not want to overstress it and start it lightly. I was relying for the start on known terrain.

Early afternoon I went back to my packed (right after breakfast I broke camp) back pack and started the hike back out with some time for the odd cast at the lower section of the river. Arriving at the gorge and its bridge I could see a couple of fish feeding at the end of the gorge. I could not resist having a few casts aiming for one of these "bridge fish" as the last fish on that river. And to my surprise I was lucky on one of them - again something of around close or above (I cannot even remember the weight of fish of one single day...) 7lbs. A good end of this first overnighter to the bush. Not abnormal many fish but good fish and some on dries as well.

Back by the boat to the car and off to St. Arnaud, picking up a hitch hiking tramper, which turned out to be a German traveler doing several of the great and less known walks.