Catch fish with Mike Ladle.

Catch Fish with
Mike Ladle


Information Page

Freshwater Fishing

For anyone unfamiliar with the site always check the FRESHWATER, SALTWATER and TACK-TICS pages. The Saltwater page now extends back as a record of over several years of (mostly) sea fishing and may be a useful guide as to when to fish. The Freshwater stuff is also up to date now. I keep adding to both. These pages are effectively my diary and the latest will usually be about fishing in the previous day or two. As you see I also add the odd piece from my friends and correspondents if I've not been doing much. The Tactics pages which are chiefly 'how I do it' plus a bit of science are also updated regularly and (I think) worth a read (the earlier ones are mostly tackle and 'how to do it' stuff).

Active trouting!

If you are remotely interested in fishing you should have a look at, "" a website set up and controlled by my New Zealand pal Alan Bulmer. Here's a taste of Alan's approach to fishing, gleaned from a recent email to me. He's an all-rounder but you'll gather that Alan is not only a much better fly angler than I am (who isn't?) but he is a lot more knowledgeable about tackle. In addition, the scenery is mouthwatering. Anyway, here's one for the trout anglers -

Hi Mike,

Trust all is still well with you and yours. All good here. Covid restrictions are getting lifted progressively and slowly everything is returning to normality.

Thought you may be interested in my lightning trip to Turangi. We were visiting Sandy's aunt and I took the opportunity to spend an extra couple of days there before driving Sandy home.

I went down early on Thursday afternoon. Brilliant cloudless sunny day with no wind. Got into Turangi about 4.10 pm, unpacked and headed straight down to the 'Duckpond' on the Tongariro to fish the dusk/early hours of darkness. It gets dark about 5.30 pm nowadays. The temperature in Turangi plummets quickly as dusk approaches and it would have been warmer to climb inside the refrigerator. Bloody freezing.

Note the temperature gauge in the middle of Alan's dashboard


I opted to fish a pair of size 16 nymphs. A gold-ribbed, bead-head, squirrel variant on the point and an Aoteapsyche colonica nymph on the dropper. Nothing happened until about 5.40 pm when it was properly dark. I was idly lifting the nymphs off the bottom using a Leisenring lift when the point fly got slaughtered. The 10' #3 weight rod instantly assumed a deep C curve, throbbing excitedly to the tune of a heavy rainbow cavorting around the pool. Yeeha! Nothing like playing a big fish in darkness. It took about 10 minutes to subdue, beach, photograph and release. A stunning 5lb hen in prime condition. 10 minutes later and the point fly got monstered again. Same heavy weight but a different fight. A 'no holds barred' struggle on a short line. Didn't take any line and wasn't long before it slid into the shallows, a 4.5lb jack rainbow. I fished on and had one more hit but it was getting cold and I was famished so I headed back to the motel to defrost.

The five pound hen rainbow.


Friday morning dawned and I opted to fish a spot that was one of my Dad's favourites. A small stream that virtually dribbles into the lake. The stream is so small at the mouth that I can step across it. The car thermometer flashed ominous warnings as I motored along the highway to the stream as it was -4.5 Celsius outside. It was a bad call as the stream mouth was bathed in fog. Cold fog that seemed to well up from the water in striated patterns. I opted to again use a pair of tiny nymphs and gave it two frigid, fruitless hours before heading back to the motel to warm up. I explored further after lunch but decided to save myself for the evening sortie.

Again I reached the 'Duckpond' just on dusk. Nothing came to my nymphs and by 5.45 pm I was starting to lose hope. Then, when I opted to stop using the Leisenring lift in favour of a 50 second countdown and an uber slow figure of 8 retrieve, the line stopped and it started to tighten. I struck, felt a heavy weight and the unmistakable head shakes of a big brown trout, only for the hooks to pull after 30 seconds. The air was blue. Superheated steam venting under pressure from every orifice. Damn! I soldiered on and 10 minutes later exactly the same thing happened. Another solid take and hook pull. You can imagine my frustration as these were potentially trophy brown trout. I soldiered on for another 30 minutes but had no takes. Off back to the motel to thaw out. Not a soul on the river anywhere.

Saturday morning and I opted for an 8.00 am start. Headed off to fish a riffly glide I always fancy in the upper Tongariro again surrounded by a heavy white frost and temperatures below -4 Celsius. The glide is shaded from the sun until about 9.00 am so up until that point you feel every degree of sub zero temperature deep in the marrow of your bones. It was tough going. Every 10 minutes I had to stop and remove the ice from the fly rod guides, as they were frozen solid. Long story short, no takes in two hours. Back to the motel to thaw out.

I checked out of the hotel, had an early lunch and headed back out to the river around 12.00 pm. That gave me an hour to fish the tail of the 'Major Jones' before Sandy arrived. Nothing happened in the first 30 minutes but then I spotted a pod of fish holding near the far bank. Wading a little closer I sent out a long cast with the 10' #3 weight. Huge upstream mend to ensure a dead drift and then 'bang!' fish on. This rainbow took well below me and headed skywards like a Polaris missile fired from a submarine. The judges would have scored the barrel roll 8 out of 10 but unfortunately the hook pulled as it flopped back in the water. Damn! Two casts later I was in again but this time I landed the feisty jack as it stayed sub-surface and made the mistake of heading into calmer water rather than running with the current. Beautifully proportioned fish probably weighing around 4lb. Carefully released to fight another day. Half-a-dozen casts later I dropped another fish and then I got the call to go. Altogether an awesome 45 hours in paradise. Can't wait to go back...

A slightly smaller male rainbow.


I asked Alan for a spot of info about the place and tactics - here is the essence of his reply -

Please excuse brevity.Glad you and Lilian are out and about making the most of it!

I saved the frog from drowning. It was stuck in an eddy current formed where the stream entered the lake.


I'm using an Orvis Recon 10' #3 weight. 8lb tippet. Quite soft in the top third so I have to pick my water as it is not designed for heavy nymphs and boisterous riffles. Perfect for the 'Duckpond' as the fish can't run with the current. I love the night time cold and I've got some seriously good kit to keep me warm. The Patagonia 3-in-1 Salt jacket is phenomenal. The inner liner is a removable Primaloft jacket. Perfect insulator.

Tight lines.

Alan Bulmer.

The 'Duckpond'.


Two Whio (Blue Ducks) at the pool Alan fished where the rod rings were icing up.


If you have any comments or questions about fish, methods, tactics or 'what have you!' get in touch with me by sending an E-MAIL to -