Posted by: Wink | February 10, 2011

Camping and Fly Fishing in the Land of the Rohans

After the rains of the Hollyford Track, we set out with Simon Wilkinson, our Kiwi fishing guide, for a camping/fly fishing trek in the outback. He chose to take us to Poolburn Reservoir in Central Otago, because stream fishing was made impossible by recent heavy rains that turned the trout streams/rivers to chocolate colored raging torrents, at some of the highest discharge in decades.

Poolburn is where the Lord of the Rings village of the Rohans scenes were filmed, and fitting, as it was an other worldly, surreal, landscape. Unless you have helicopter access, it is reachable only by 4WD and even then we had to use more than 4WD to navigate (see below stuck in the mud).

We dusted off our fly casting skills in the afternoon, getting a few strikes but no takers — the advice here is when the fish strikes pause while you say “God save the Queen”, otherwise you will pull the fly right out of the trout’s mouth since they are not overly aggressive taking the fly. The rather strong winds made casting a bit of a challenge.

We were glad that we successfully escaped our stuck in the mud incident so that we were able to set off for more scenic parts of the lake to set camp lakeside. SImon set up camp as Wink and I continued to pursue our quarry — Brown Trout — into the evening, while dodging raindrops and battling wind. Wink’s fly fishing improved markedly with Simon’s very helpful tutoring during the day.

Simon fed us a camp dinner of beef filet and fresh veggies using a very cool Aussie stove, a Cobb that used a compressed coconut husk “brickette” for fuel. Everything of course tastes better when camping out.

We slept on “streeetchers” (if you get the Kiwi pronunciation) that were camp cots to us. They did not permit much cuddling, which became an issue as the temperatures dropped considerably (to near 0 degrees Celsius) through the night…. Wink, after a quick freezing pee trip outside the tent at 5am the next morning (and a view of the southern cross and a spectacular night sky) was so cold she joined Dave on a single stretcher (even narrower than a twin bed).

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