Advice - completely new to trout

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    Posted: 13 Jun 2022 at 10:39am
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I have never tried my hand at trout fishing and am interested in giving it a go.  Most of my fishing experience is while holding my breath and pointing a speargun at saltwater fish so I need to pretty much start from zero on the gear front etc.

We may be spending a weekend or two on some of the Rotorua Lakes and/or Lake Taupo and I am contemplating taking the boat down to explore a little (6m hardtop).  My partner is keen on a bit of fishing at times coupled with boating so I guess a bit of trolling might be the go?

Any advice on rods, reels and other gear to get us started would be greatly appreciated - as well as pointers on technique!

Ideally the rods would be something I can also use while boat fishing in the Hauraki Gulf, Northland and Coromandel.  I'm also thinking of trying my hand at soft baiting etc. so anything that I can use for both fresh and salt would be good.  (Possibly set up a reel or two with weighted line and keep those for the fresh water?).

So ... any tips, tricks, gear recommendations would be appreciated.
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Post Options Post Options   Likes (1) Likes(1)   Quote MB Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 13 Jun 2022 at 11:31am
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There are better qualified people to answer than me, but trout "jigging" seems to be the most successful method. A team of three flies, or sometimes small soft baits with a sinker at the end, gently jigged over fish sign is the way to do it. As for gear, I use the lighter end for trout, 2-4kg soft bait rod and size 1000 reel with 6kg braid. It occasionally gets an outing on salt water, but is a little under-gunned. The jigging rigs can be purchased pre-tied.

Other than that, there is cast and retrieve spinning or soft baiting. I use the rod described above. Trolling with lead core line. I've never caught a trout with this method, but did catch a salmon once on a charter. Then there's the rabbit hole of fly fishing.
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Post Options Post Options   Likes (1) Likes(1)   Quote bazza Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 13 Jun 2022 at 11:49am
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Suddenly occurred to me ( with some exceptions ) the season closes the end of this month & due to covid restrictions have hardly been fly fishing at all this season ... certainly far less than than normal ... so am planning on one or two forays before 31 st. June.

Any forum member that would like to be  introduced to fly fishing welcome to join in ... I have spare gear I could loan.

NB would be fly or at a pinch spin fishing exclusively on lesser known rivers & streams, the exact location of which must remain confidential.

Most likely would be mid week forays of a day or two ... suitable nearby accommodation available. 
When you cry, feel pain or sadness, no one notices your sorrow .... BUT
fart just ONE time !!!!!!!!!!!
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Post Options Post Options   Likes (0) Likes(0)   Quote Legacy Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 13 Jun 2022 at 3:11pm
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Good on ya Bazza
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Post Options Post Options   Likes (1) Likes(1)   Quote Redfinger Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 13 Jun 2022 at 4:29pm
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Jigging is probably the easiest and you can use conventional softbaiting gear (shops sell the complete rigs) but you will need a good fish finder - look for drop offs  and smelt (bait) .
Rotorua lakes best for jigging are Rotoiti , tarawera and okataina - close at end of june but Rotorua open all year and has lots of fish. Shallow trolling best here or slow trolling a smelt fly. 
Jigging Rotoiti fish should be in 15-25m at this time of year.
In Taupo let me know where you are staying as know a few spots there - in winter trolling with lead line 6-10 colours and a black gold toby should get you a couple of fish - use a bucket or something to slow trolling speed to below 1.8knots if you can. That speed seems to work for me - for trolling a fly  as slow as fast walking pace and early or late in day ok for shallow trolling in Taupo = you can see the bottom less than 6m
Jigging Taupo deeper at 35-50m - use smelt flies and need a very slow drift - ideally less than half a knot.
Good luck
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Post Options Post Options   Likes (0) Likes(0)   Quote kinger Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 14 Jun 2022 at 7:02am
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The Taupo charter boats make money from patrons catching trout, and they all have downriggers and good electronics. Food for thought.
I get plenty on lead line harling and jigging, but can be very seasonal regarding location, colours and sizes.
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Post Options Post Options   Likes (0) Likes(0)   Quote Redfinger Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 14 Jun 2022 at 9:12am
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True re downrigger - commercial charter boats target trout year round on downriggers 40m mark - didnt think Phantam Menace would have downriggers for some reason.
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Post Options Post Options   Likes (0) Likes(0)   Quote MB Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 14 Jun 2022 at 12:35pm
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Downriggers aren't super hard or expensive to set up for you keen freshwater guys, plus I've seen a workaround on YouTube using very heavy sinkers on the line. Admittedly, not the most fun way to fish, but worth a go?
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Post Options Post Options   Likes (0) Likes(0)   Quote Redfinger Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 14 Jun 2022 at 12:48pm
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yes MB - i prefer to jig using light baitcasters with lightish gear - 10lb braid , leaders etc - but agree completely that downriggers are the most affective way to catch a trout in the lake. Makes sense when charter operators must maximise catch rate in the shortest possible time plus added benefit you catch fish year round.
Must say in Taupo we are slowly refining our jigging in the lake methods and locations, depths etc and catch fish year round but november to june  best in both Rotoiti and Taupo
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Post Options Post Options   Likes (0) Likes(0)   Quote The Tamure Kid Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 14 Jun 2022 at 3:01pm
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Great advice from the likes of MB and Redfinger.

I'll add some general points from a beginner's perspective. I caught my first trout trolling on Lake Rotorua - using snapper boat rods and reels with mono. All we did was add a Toby or Flamingo lure to the end of a lightish trace and we caught plenty in front of Hamurana - slowly following a line where you could see the bottom on one side of the boat, and not on the other.In those days it was illegal to use lead lines on Lake Rotorua, not sure about now.

My first jigging attempts were at Tarawera - using a light snapper fishing Ugly Stik rod, mono and a two-fly trace with a sinker on the bottom in 18-20m. I was rowing a dinghy with the rod leaning on the stern and the butt under my foot, using small sweeps of the oars into the wind to replicate an electric motor type holding in position (drifting too fast is a real no no). Got some real beauties.

The point of the above is to say that you don't necessarily need specialist gear to get started. But it would certainly help.

I middle range softbaiting set up will be fine, with braid etc. The trace for jigging is very long, so I don't think it'd be too detrimental to use braid that's also suitable for saltwater softbaiting. Most specialists use overhead baitcaster style reels, but you can use spin reels and still catch fish, I'm sure.
Pat Swift jigging fly packs would be perfect.

Another option would be to hire some rods/reels, if you don't want to rush into anything.
Trolling a few colours of lead line and a Toby or Cobra around the likes of Tarawera at dawn just out from the shallows drop off is likely to see you in a fish or two, no problem.
"Heave and leave" is another option. Casting a big floating egg or Woolly Bugger style fly out from a jetty at Okataina or Tarawera, using softbaiting rod/reel and a small ball sinker with a short trace. Wait for a bite and bingo.

If it's blowing, jigging is problematic in a large boat without an electric motor, I'm sure. Options then are to anchor and jig (presumably not as effective? Redfinger can answer?) or anchor near a drop off and 'heave and leave', or troll/harl.

Okataina, Tarawera, Rotoiti and Taupo are beautiful lakes, Rotorua less so in my opinion. The natural beauty makes the trip even more enjoyable.
Don't forget to buy a licence!!




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Post Options Post Options   Likes (0) Likes(0)   Quote MB Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 14 Jun 2022 at 5:27pm
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Damn TKK, you've got me fired up about trout fishing now and I live in the worst part of the country for it!
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Post Options Post Options   Likes (0) Likes(0)   Quote The Tamure Kid Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 14 Jun 2022 at 8:42pm
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Haha, yes, a fair old hike for you to the Central Plateau, though Kai Iwi lakes are pretty good aren't they?

I admire Redfinger's determination to regularly fish Rotoiti from his empire on the North Shore.I've had the pleasure of a couple of day trips with him: rendezvous in the dark to set off, brekkie at a greasy spoon in Matamata, fuel up the totes and on to the lake.
The quality of the fish and the location makes it worth it, for sure.

When I lived in Hamilton (for a few years, for work) I could drive to the Tongariro in 2 hrs 15 (had the trip pretty much down to the minute) in winter, and not much further to Lake Otamangakau in the summer. I would also drive to Tarawera or Okataina for night fly fishing in autum/early winter. Salt water fishing was pretty much non-existent for me in those years with no boat or connection to the Coromandel, and i had no family commitments - so I really focused on trout fishing as much as possible.

I love my salt water fishing, softbaiting in particular and I would love to do more kingie catching; but there's something very special about trout fishing. I taught myself to fly cast and tie flies as a teenager (both the old school way via books!). The whole process just fully captured my imagination.
A few days a year keeps my tank topped up - heading down to Turangi with the family for a ski/fishing trip in the late winter school hols, and can't wait for my allotted fishing stints.

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Very sad outcome re: Kai Iwi Lakes, they were a fantastic place to fish. Great scenery and big fish that were great to eat.

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Post Options Post Options   Likes (0) Likes(0)   Quote The Tamure Kid Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 14 Jun 2022 at 10:26pm
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Gee, I wasn't aware of that MB. An eye opener, and not too long a bow to see that happening in the future in other areas, given the avowed intentions of some conservation groups. 
Anyway, i didn't intend to derail the positive thread for our newbie troutfisho!
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Post Options Post Options   Likes (0) Likes(0)   Quote MB Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 14 Jun 2022 at 10:36pm
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Green and cultural extremism, I'll leave it there. You're right, this isn't the place to discuss such things and besides, it's something of a moot point as it's game over anyway.
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Back on topic, do any of you guys use a single small softbait/jighead fished vertically in deep water?
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Post Options Post Options   Likes (0) Likes(0)   Quote Phantom Menace Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 15 Jun 2022 at 9:40am
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Thanks everyone for the advice!  

I will need to take the time to read through, digest and do a little more research (and get a license of course).No doubt I will have some stupid questions later (and some not so stupid ones too hopefully!).

Bazza, that is an excellent offer that, if I wasn't flat out with work, Coastguard and a little bit of spearfishing etc. I would have been keen on.  Mid-week time off is very rare for me as I have a pretty high-pressure job.
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Post Options Post Options   Likes (0) Likes(0)   Quote The Tamure Kid Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 15 Jun 2022 at 7:25pm
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Originally posted by MB MB wrote:

Back on topic, do any of you guys use a single small softbait/jighead fished vertically in deep water?

There are a few vids on YouTube of that being done at Rotoiti, MB. I've clipped a couple of articles about it for my fishing info folder.

Here's one with jigging and softbaiting that features none other than the legend himself, Rainbow (Herb).



Seems to be reasonably successful, and from memory I think Redfinger gave it a go one trip i did with him, and caught a couple quite quickly. 

But it would be hard to imagine it being more successful than a string of jigged flies in the hands of an expert. They can more or less spot the fish they want to catch, and drop their jig to the perfect spot using a depth counter on their reel. I used a more rudimentary method of 5m marks i made on my braid.

One point to note: I think there are restrictions on the type of softies that can be used on particular lakes - ie. no scented ones. Unlike say, the Tekapo canals, where anything goes.
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Originally posted by The Tamure Kid The Tamure Kid wrote:

There are a few vids on YouTube of that being done at Rotoiti, MB. I've clipped a couple of articles about it for my fishing info folder.

Here's one with jigging and softbaiting that features none other than the legend himself, Rainbow (Herb).



Seems to be reasonably successful, and from memory I think Redfinger gave it a go one trip i did with him, and caught a couple quite quickly. 

Cheers for that, interesting stuff!

Originally posted by The Tamure Kid The Tamure Kid wrote:

But it would be hard to imagine it being more successful than a string of jigged flies in the hands of an expert. 

No doubt, but I don't really enjoy the team of flies jigging technique. Something about the rigs being longer than the rod really pisses me off!

Originally posted by The Tamure Kid The Tamure Kid wrote:

One point to note: I think there are restrictions on the type of softies that can be used on particular lakes - ie. no scented ones. Unlike say, the Tekapo canals, where anything goes.

Simple rule of thumb, if no bait fishing is allowed, then you can't use scented softies Smile
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Post Options Post Options   Likes (0) Likes(0)   Quote Redfinger Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 16 Jun 2022 at 8:46am
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Zman are trialling and starting to sell a few with Rotorua lakes in mind - small 3 inch models with good jig heads/ hook apparantly. They did some field work in Tarawera and Rotoiti according to Mark Kitteridge - i was speaking to him at work the other day but i think stock may be just arriving or scarce. Definitely worth a go.and added bonus they work very well when saltwater fish targeting smaller anchovie type bait.
Yes check regulations but with new season coming up there might be some changes relaxing some of the softbait options- check that out when finalised.
Softbaits would catch the larger fish but flies easily outfish re numbers - great to have either option i suppose. 
A mate of mine fishes with me and only uses 1.5 to 2m trace - i use 3m but he still catches fish so dont have to have longer backbone but it does present and work better in my opinion.
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