In 'Mouse Trout' we travel to Fiordland, the largest of New Zealand's national parks, located at the bottom of South Island. As well as a large number of lakes and rivers, it has vast areas of pristine Beech forests. These are home to a variety of indigenous bird life as well as to the non native Field Mouse, introduced by trading ships in the 1800's. Every 5 or 6 years there is a phenomenon created by the Beech trees 'masting' or seeding. The field mice love Beech seeds, so this bountiful supply of food leads to a population explosion. During these 'plagues' the mice will venture everywhere in a scramble for food and at night will even swim across the rivers and lakes looking for floating seeds. Although not part of their normal diet, the Trout are attracted to what is a large furry meal flapping about on the surface. They knock the mice unconscious with their tails before eating them whole, head first. This high protein diet leads to prodigious growth rates and very large trout. So it's not surprising to find, during these Mice Plagues, keen fly fishermen out on the hunt for trophy fish. In this episode of Pure Fly NZ we follow Queenstown local Nick Geddes and his mate Anto Hall on an overnight session to one of the Fiordland Lakes. They have come armed with plenty of mouse pattern imitator flies and the patience to wait until after midnight. As the evening wind drops, conditions become perfect and an early recce shows that there are mice and Trout on the move. Anto's first fish is exactly what they came for, a whopping 14 pounder and from then on to say that the guys had a great night's fishing would be a bit of an understatement.
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