TheTrout were not at home.

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    With a nearly perfect forecast I decided to head up my friendly local river the Goulter famed for the number of large trout which live there.

    I had two options, get up early and guarantee being first on the river for the day, or sleep in and get up there at a more leisurely time.

    So after melting the ice from my windscreen I hit the road just after 7, on the drive up I notice the temperature hanging around 0. Once on the 4wd track I notice a few tyre marks, but a wind blown Manuka tree over the track indicates I would be the first to make the drive today. I was glad to see a empty carpark, was not overly glad about the frost which was still heavy on the ground.

    Not wanting to get wet until the sun was up behind the hills I decided to take the track to the first hut, it was a wise decision with the suns warming rays reaching the first pool just moments before me.

    The river was low for this time of year, I slowly moved upstream checking the likely spots. This pond normally holds 2-3 fish but it was barren. I stopped to sort out my rod only to realize I left my main fly box behind… Luckily I had two more in my pack.

    Spotting conditions was the best I have seen for the Goulter, but still I saw no fish. Luckily there was also few footprints, the strong norwesters of opening week must have kept most others away.

    It soon become apparent that the Goulter has seen a few massive floods this winter, with a huge expanse of fresh gravel and several new pools. They were all empty of fish. Although a family of Black fronted terns kept me entertained.


    Black Fronted Tern by Thomas J. Walsh, on Flickr

    I pushed on, passed the Crozier, and passed the small gorge. There is always a fish or four in the gorge (and at the mouth of the Crozier) but both spots were empty.

    Upstream of the gorge the footprints ended, decided my predecessor must have given up due to lack of fish.  It was not until lunchtime that I spotted the first fish, a rather ordinarily 2-3lb model which I spooked.


    Goat by Thomas J. Walsh, on Flickr

    There was a similar fish in the next pool but it refused the first three nymphs before hiding. From then on I started to see the occasional fish, and to three of these fish I presented my entire fly box with no success.


    PA070243 by Thomas J. Walsh, on Flickr

    I reached the middle Goulter Hut at around 4:30pm and decided to head back for the day. So ends my less successful trip up the Goulter ever, my previous worst day I counted 17 fish in the same section, despite the nearly perfect weather this trip I counted 8 and none of them were big, a far cry from the 70ish I saw one opening day a few years back. Got back to the car around 7:30pm.


    PA070221 by Thomas J. Walsh, on Flickr

    Also saw this narrow gorge like creek, plan to climb it sometime this season.

    Hopefully this report is enough to discourage others from trying their luck on the Goulter.

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