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Southland, New Zealand

Trout Fishing, Trout and Cicadas

Maurice Rodway

Column for February 4, 2005

The forgotten cold days of the Christmas period are like far mountains in the shimmering haze that settles over the region every afternoon - somewhere our there, not quite in the real world. The mercury climbs into the twenties and thirties and river water flowing over summer stones warms to levels that make trout unhappy. A cool breeze off the sea distills silent fog from the river. It drifts upstream in gossamer swirls bringing a promise of a blessed cool night. The warm evening water dulls the wits of fish. They lie is the pool bottoms far from an enticing fly. Those that do rise seem to have vaporous mouths where hooks cannot find anything to grasp. Ethereal trout do not provide very satisfactory bumps in the bag at the end of the day. 

The wings of mallard families whistle in the evening gloom. They are wary of people walking in their river. The white tails of rabbits flick up in your car lights. One flicking tail the index of a dozen unseen others.

Warm days are good for cicadas to try their wings but unlike the power of a mallard they bumble about some crashing in an unplanned, but tasty, heap on a river somewhere. This is where anglers flies need to be not among the wraiths of a warm evening but bouncing down a lively riffle on a cool upland stream where trout are busy eating and growing like lambs in clover on a sunny day.

Finding trout feeding on cicadas is a highlight of a fishing year. You often have to travel into the hills for such an experience. But to see a broad shouldered trout surge out of a boisterous run to destroy a hapless cicada is worth the walk. The images that you see will become burned into your memory, but you will want to reburn it again and again. It is one of the great experiences of trout fishing.

The trout that participate in this contest the struggling insect, the nervous angler and the hungry trout - in a sunny amphitheatre with tussocks as spectators, are precious beings to be treasured. Take care of these trout if you must eat them savour them, but you may like to let them go so others come with a rod and a longing for adventure may find them too.

Maurice Rodway
Southland, New Zealand                           E-mail:

Article © 2005 Maurice Rodway, All Rights Reserved.


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