Lawrie’s rainbow cooked

The grins speak volumes

‘’We’re going fishing Grandad. I’ll be here tomorrow around midday,’’ I said over the phone.

Lawrie Cooke, or Grandad as I know him, is the main inspiration for all of my fishing adventures. He hadn’t been out to catch a trout for some time so I thought it would be good to take him on a trip up to a lake to see if we could get onto a fat rainbow.

After we had packed all the gear into the truck, we set off on the winding road up to Lake Hawkston. This small little farm lake is stocked with around 50 rainbow trout each year. These fish grow to impressive sizes and is an ideal place to go for a nice, relaxed day to cast a fly. On the way up to the lake, Lawrie’s stories of fishing adventures from his childhood fascinated me with what the trout were like in Hawkes Bay all that time ago. Just thinking about the fact that trout have been here all of that time and thriving to this day was exciting.

After passing over the upper reaches of the Mangatutu Stream, a great wild fishery in its own right, we turned onto the farm track that would take us down to the scenic lake. The stunning piece of water greeted us, along with a few very friendly ducks that decided to lead us down to the shoreline.

Lawrie has eyes on a tasty treat

We both had a bite to eat before setting up the rods with green Woolly Buggers and commenced casting. The lake has some excellent weed bed fishing, but it can be inconsistent at times. This happened to be one of those days. After a few moves around the lake and no bites, we sat down to enjoy the sun and warm summer breeze. I was keen to make something happen, so I suggested having a look at the bridge we crossed just up the road.

When we arrived to the Mangatutu Stream and, as if it was asked to, a trout was sitting 10 metres upstream. I indicated the fish to Lawrie who had a good vantage point from the bridge. A small nymph was tied on and the fish was soon cast to.

It took just two drifts for the hen to rise up and grab the small nymph. I struck and the fish danced off around the pool. I turned around to see Lawrie with a huge grin on his face.

“How about that Grandad?” I said as the fish tore off on another run.

With the fish tiring and the net shot completed, I held up the fish and said, “What do you reckon? We better take her home for the smoker.”

Lawrie nodded and the fish was soon in the back of the truck for its ride home. We reflected on a great day out during the trip home, with many more stories of Lawrie’s past fishing expeditions told.

A scenic little farm lake

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