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Ronan’s Top 10 Trout for the 2020 – 21 Season

Published: 2nd September 2021 | Author: Ronan Creane

At the end of every season I like to compile a list of the top 5 trout for my clients. It’s a good way for me to look back over the season and relive some of those highs. Even though my guided days were down over 80% this season, my clients still had an impressive top 5. However, to add a bit more, I’ve decided to include some of my own fish and some of my fishing companions’ fish in this season’s list. I’ll extend the list to 10 fish. So, here are my top 10 trout for the 2020 – 21 New Zealand season.


There were a few 7lbers so I’ve picked a couple of nice ones for joint 10thplace!

A day out with John and Dan. There were gale force winds forecast so I chose a river with great protection in the form of willow trees. We listened to wind roaring through the trees all day while we were sheltered below. We had a super day catching lots of really great trout, but the best fish went to dan at 7lbs. A really solid trout. Great proportions, markings and colour. He took my hotspot nymph which has since become a favourite of Dan’s.

A great day out guiding / fishing with my friend Bryan Wrighton. After a slow start I landed a magnificent seatrout of almost 7lbs in weight. Bryan replied quickly – in the same pool to be exact – with this amazing 7lber on my claret nymph. Bryan has caught bigger fish but this spectacularly marked and coloured beauty counts as his personal best. I understand why!


I simply adore seatrout. They have been a favourite target species of mine for a long time. One of my clients, Marcus, has also been bitten by the seatrout bug. He comes over every season to target them. They’re rarely easy and require a relentless approach into some of the most hardcore country I fish. They get a lot bigger than this 7.25lb specimen, but what a super trout! Their late season markings are very unique to seatrout.


I think it was day 2 with James and Bill. James was doing well while Bill had missed a few opportunities. Then the stars aligned for him when I spotted this fish tucked against a dark rock. Bill made a good cast and this super trout sipped down a blowfly. With a well timed strike it was all on! About 300m downstream we put this 7.5lb beauty in the net. Such magnificent condition. This fish made the trip!


Catching big trout is always high on Marcus’ agenda. I get this! We work hard together putting in big days in our quest for the big one. We’re yet to crack a double together but we will. We worked on this trout for about 40 minutes with various small nymphs as he fed around the pool. In the end he took a worm fly! Just over 8lbs.


This is a very special trout. I have caught him 3 times now since 2015. He’s always been about the same weight (9lbs) and in roughly the same place. I don’t know how old he is but I’m guessing between 15 and 18 years old. This capture was like seeing an old friend again. He’s still looking great! He took my size 10 hotspot nymph fished deep in his pool.


This was my best fish from a magic day out with my great friend, Robbie. We had mostly adverse conditions but with care, fish can still be spotted. It was cicada time. In the afternoon they hatch from the ground and many fall into the water providing food for trout. The trout don’t sit on station waiting for them – they patrol the pools in search of this seasonal delicacy. I need my fix of this every year. Making the cast to intercept a very big, rapidly cruising trout; watching the approach as I see him become aware of my fly; watching the jaws emerge and take down that big dry; lifting into thrashing weight – it’s simply amazing and highly addictive!


The first of 2 great trout on this day. 10lbs even. The other is at the top of the list so I’ll tell the story then!


We regularly see the benefits of Catch & Release here in NZ, and no time better than on this encounter. I caught this trout back in 2013 at 9.25lbs. I have seen him many times over the years since. Only twice in that time my clients have managed to make him eat the fly – without setting the hook. I never had an opportunity to catch him while fishing myself. Today everything worked out for Robbie as he nailed the cast and we both watched this trout of just over 10lbs take down his cicada. It was simply brilliant to watch! Battling really big trout is always a bit nerve wracking but there are few with more experience than Robbie.


It was day 3 of 3 with Brian. We had had a few great days catching good numbers of quality trout and this day was no different. After a slow start we had a solid afternoon landing 6 fish to about 6lbs. Then, at the very end of the day, that dream sight – a monster brown. Head and shoulders bigger than anything else we had seen all day. Brian made a good cast and trout came across to his Indicator Klinkhammer dry fly. The strike was well timed but he somehow foul hooked the trout in the tail. Thankfully this hook-up was brief and it didn’t spook the trout much.

He continued feeding so we kept fishing. Then the dry went down as the big fish took my size 14 brown nymph. The trout went nuts and we had a serious battle on our hands. We ended up way downstream. I was ready with the net and the fish was coming towards it – then one last burst for freedom as he bored under a rock. I couldn’t see a fin! I could see the tippet rubbing off the rock so I knew I had one chance. I slid my hand under the rock and found his tail. As I did the water was spilling into my waders! I got a grip and dragged him out and slipped him into my net. Relief was an understatement. Victory was Brian’s. 11Lbs weight making him the best trout for a client of the season. A spectacular lake run trout.


This is a day I’ll never forget. I was guiding in the morning so I fished myself in the afternoon. The river was high and a little dirty but I could see enough to find a trout. After 4 fishless kilometres I spotted a good trout which I quickly got. To my delight he hit the scales at 10lbs. My day was totally made. I looked at the spot as I progressed up river and to my amazement, another fish had taken his place.

By now there was a hard wind blowing straight across the river making this cast hard. After a few attempts I landed the flies in the right place and this absolute brute took my size 12 brown nymph. Another big battle downstream before I put this fish into my net. Words can’t describe the feeling. Equal to my personal best and just after landing a double figure trout. After enjoying my moment I continued up river. I looked in the same spot again and believe it or not, there was another fish on station. I didn’t get that one! I had an 8lb trout earlier on that day which I hooked for my young client. Three wild brown trout for 30lbs in a day? I may well never do that again – but I’ll keep trying!

This fish topped Ronan’s top 10 trout for the 2020 – 21 New Zealand season

All the flies mentioned above are available here at Fulling Mill. My Brown, Claret and Hotspot nymphs proved deadly all season and are still catching fish through the winter months. Simple, yet deadly flies.

On to the next

It seems unlikely that there’ll be any tourists coming to NZ this season but feel free to get in touch with any questions or to talk about 2023.

If you enjoyed following along with Ronan’s top 10 trout for the 2020 – 21 New Zealand season, you should read his other pieces on the blog!

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