Big Brown Trout – Selwyn, Ashley and LII Rivers – Close to Christchurch

A very fine looking big brown trout which looks like a fairly recent arrival in Lake Ellesmere that came in when the lake was opened to the sea redently.
A very fine looking sea-run brown from the Selwyn. As predicted it's going to be a great season - there are probably some monsters in Harts Creek too!

By Tim Nichol

I thought you might like this story about getting snapped off by a 10-pounder plus big brown trout in the LII River earlier this season. I believe these big sea-run brown trout enter the lake when it was opened to the sea a couple of months back. The sea-runners actually run up into the lake in shoals. When the rising lake level inundates surrounding farmland a cutting is made with bulldozers at Taumutu so the lake can drain into the sea. Very large numbers of smelt or silveries enter the lake when it is opened. The trout grow quickly on this plentiful protein-rich diet. Large numbers of smelt seen in the lake and its tributaries early on can point to a good sea-run trout season ahead.

I went to the LII a couple of times earlier this year and had success catching big brown trout both times, and both during the day surprisingly and on a spin rod!

One such time around 2 pm, I noticed a medium-sized trout feeding close to some low-level branches so tried a few lures, got a couple of follows but no bites. 
 
As a last resort to get a bite I switched lures to a brown/gold soft bait with an unweighted hook, cast in front of the tree branch and let the soft bait slowly sink under the bushy branches. Out came two other trout and watched my soft bait ever so slowly drift, so three trout were now investigating this soft bait only a few metres from me. One was a frikken monster! 10-pound plus all day long!

I gave the soft bait some very gentle twitches, then the biggest one (leader of the pack) gave it a nibble, then I gave it another twitch. BOOM the big brown trout took it and I set the hook and all hell broke loose.

After a few seconds of doing head shakes and thrashing about, it swam super fast directly toward me then did a U-turn at my feet and took off straight back towards its hiding hole. Snap! It was game over. I couldn’t believe what had just happened, I didn’t even have time to react!  The speed of the fish and it running straight at me was something I have never seen before! And its share size!

I’d say the slack in my 8lb leader, from him coming straight at me and no time to reel in that slack was the end of me, one smart fish.

I had landed a 9.3 pounder in the Ashley River two weeks prior using the same rod/line set up so I can safely say this one was much much bigger.

If you missed my first article on night fishing the Lake Ellesmere Tributaries here is the link: Night Time Lurking – Fishing Lake Ellesmere and its Tributaries; Harts, Irwell, Halswell, Selwyn and the LII.