Hokitika Holiday Trout Fishing
By Lex Coutts
Hokitika Holiday Trout Fishing. With the production of a wet Christmas coming true we set off on our annual sojourn to the West Coast for a fishing holiday around Okarito.
However, our plans changed when an ominous rumbling and then an intermittent screeching began to emanate from the back of my four wheel drive just short of Whataroa. We had a pleasant couple of days around the lake during which Deborah caught a nice 2 pound brown trout and released a few small salmon.
After a trip to Christchurch for Allan to bring back his car (thank you Clem and Rebecca) the welcomed in the new year, and crawled back to Hokitika for much-needed repairs to my truck and it looked from new waters to fish.
Once set up a game or steals riverside kittens we headed for the Styx River upstream of the first road bridge. The river is picture perfect with deep runs and clear cool water all the way up from the moment we got out of the car, just up from the confluence of the Styx and the Kokatahi Rivers. The only thing missing was a few fish.
After about a kilometre of good fishable water, a pair of trout were spotted nymphing in a long gliding run between two deep holes cut into bends in the river. The normally successful tactics failed and after a good drift past with my Pheasant Tail / Royal Wulff combo, both fish slipped away to sulk out of sight in the deeper water. I suspect I lined them with the nearest cast and that they had seen a few anglers so that a look at my floating line was enough to finish the play for the day.
Moving on up we came to the next bridge just below the end of the track that takes you to a couple of routes over to Canterbury. At this point, the river was hard up against the cliff face. I was sure we would get some action in it.
As I worked my way up from the back with my nymph combo I struck pay dirt and found myself attached to a spirited 3 lb brown trout that ran around the pool for a look before succumbing to the net. That was more like it.
We carried on into the steeper section of the river and fished some beautiful water to no avail. l had a conversation with a local farmer who informed me that there were very few fish in that stretch. Given that the water was in wonderful order we could not understand why that was the case. We thought there should have been more fish spotted aside from the few we caught.
We were then directed over to Harris Creek by the farmer and found the opposite of the Styx. Harris Creek is more like the L2, which runs into Lake Ellesmere over in Canterbury, with a lot more fish seen and fished. Unfortunately, the wind got up just as we got there and spotting fish was made tricky by the southerly rippling the water. I found the wind completely obliterated any long range spotting and in most cases the fish and I spotted each other at the same. Not at all a satisfactory way to fish a small stream.
There were more fish in the half a kilometre that we walked through and we would have gone back another day had we had more time.
Our truck was duly fixed by the good people at Scenicland Motors and Dave McNee, and we were mobile in time to return home for the weekend, and then back to work.
For the record, we fished the Waitangitaona River (Whataroa), the Hokitika, the Styx and Harris Creek rivers. Lakes Mapourika and a morning on Lake Kanieri were where we fished to 55 fish and caught 21 of them.
The Hokitika area has a lot of fishing to enjoy, both fresh and saltwater, with kahawai and red cod at the river mouth while we were in town.
Hokitika is well set up for visitors with excellent accommodation at affordable family prices and it would be fair to say, I believe, that after the fishing and the scenery, the people of Hokitika are the biggest asset the West Coast has to offer. We were well looked after and the street cafes and town centre were as good as any on our side of the hill. So give Hokitika Holiday Fishing a go sometime – it’s well worth the effort.