ALTITUDE BLOG

2019/2020 Season Summary

After a long winter on the tools I was more ready than ever to strap the pack on and venture out on the water. The trout season looked extremely promising on many levels after the winter where any kind of major flood seemed to be non-existent. All catchments held up very well with rivers sustaining their structure and stability throughout the winter and summer season. I felt the winter temperatures here in the Lower North were somewhat mild in comparison to previous ones.

It became quite clear this had an effect on the trout after our first couple of trips....

Altitude Fly Fishing
Altitude Fly Fishing

It was nice to open the account for the season with good mates and fellow guides Glenn Beach and Craig Stapleton from Masterton on a remote headwater 4 day campout. A good chance to prosper some new water. I think we were all a little shocked at the average size of the fish for early October. The fish condition factor proved throughout the season and I felt fish were upwards of 3 months ahead of themselves compared to an average season with frequent floods and harsh winters. Coming across a fish out of condition was virtually non existent!! We came across some systems where fish weight was simply staggering for their body size. Finidng 5-7lb fish in a typical 3-4lb body almost became a common theme in backcountry water.

I also recall some really top notch small tributary fishing. Somewhat consistent periods of rain throughout those early season months provided good water levels for some of the smaller systems. Fish did not tend to drop out so quick into the bigger systems. Great fun targeting really solid rainbows in some quite small water!

2019 WFFC Tasmania
Johnny Gummer NZ Fly Fishing Team

Late November it was time to put guiding on hold for a month and travel as part of the New Zealand Fly fishing Team to Tasmania, for the 2019 World Fly Fishing Championships. A lifelong dream now a reality. 11 years of competing, learning and perfecting the craft of competition. I was finally able to compete at the highest level with some of the worlds finest competitive anglers. A gruelling 5 session championship in severe snow blizzards and gale-force winds on Tasmania's highland lakes and rivers. I placed in the top 50 from 120 competitors. Sharing those moments with my Team were incredible. Dad has backed me for so long and always believed in me to compete at a world championship level. So many years sharing the learning journey together. Once upon a time throwing me in the backpack while fishing local rivers and nearly 20 years later now alongside watching me fish at my peak against the worlds best and giving them a good run. 

North island Fly Fishing
New Zealand Fly Fishing seasons

The back county angling this season was simply exceptional. Long periods of stable clear weather allowed us to get right into the hills and clients to sample the clear water, un pressured fisheries of the Lower north and find solitude with the promise of large well conditioned fish every day on the water. 

The campout style trips were very popular. These are fun wilderness trips from 1 - 5 nights of stay. If you don't mind a little leg work and roughing it this is an experience for the list. I think its the best way to get the real deal flavour of New Zealand's wild river angling experience. Waking up to the sound of Cicadas chirping and a new day in trophy trout country beats a hotel room

in my books! This seasons fish condition and quality were just the icing to champagne angling.....

Helicopter fly fishing North island

I owe a huge thank you to all my customers both new and repeat for fishing with me this past season.  I feel so much gratitude being able to share the place I call my backyard with anglers from all over the world. I find nothing more rewarding than seeing you achieve your angling dreams and hopefully leaving a better angler after our time together.

Theres been a few tough days scattered throughout the season as usual. Fish not on the chew, playing funny buggers and all of that nonsense! I guess thats why New Zealand is arguably the most demanding but without a doubt the most rewarding trout fishery on the planet. Putting a good fish to the net is simply the icing at the end of a day........... and thats before the beer!!

See you on the water soon....

Johnny