Water temperatures have been high lately and look to continue
that way with hot weather forecast for the first weekend of
the New Year. One river that is not affected by heat is the
Clutha; the sheer volume of water prevents it warming up and
cooling down rapidly. Finding a gravel beach to fish from
early in the morning or late in the evening, the times when
insects are more likely to be on the water, offers a good
chance of catching a few trout. The usual mayfly and sedge
patterns should work.
Early mornings are likely to be better on smaller waters as
the temperature drops overnight and fish will be more active
If you are near a lake for the holidays late evening and
early mornings are also good. Fish move into the shallows
under the cover of darkness and will stay there until well
after sunrise unless they are caught or scared by anglers.
Midges in the evening and morning will catch fish and a
waterboatman is also worth a try in the morning. Deeper water
offers a better chance of fish as the water warms up later in
the day, with a damsel fly nymph being my go-to fly.
I have fished a few different waters over the holiday period
and hopefully will fish a few more before going back to work.
I fished the middle reaches of the Taieri one day and found
it very difficult. The water was low and warm and I saw very
few fish. I fished the same stretch of river at the
corresponding time last year and saw and caught plenty of
fish. This time I did see a shoal of trout of about 20 fish
all swimming round together, all of them worth catching. I
suspect they were being stressed by the heat and were not
stopping to eat. The first ripple I fished early in the
morning produced four hook-ups but I only managed to land two
of them, both nice fish. There were odd fish rising in the
shadows of willows but they were difficult to see because of
the poor light and I only managed to land one more over the
remainder of the day.
A visit to the Mataura was rather more successful although I
covered a lot of fish that would have nothing to do with me.
The first ripple in the morning produced a few fish but it
was about an hour before I caught any more as I fished
upstream. These fish were rising spasmodically at the tail of
a flat and luckily the surface of the water was ruffled by a
breeze and I caught some on a small nymph. There are several
flats on the Mataura that I fish and find if they are flat
calm the fish are very difficult, but if the surface is
ruffled they are a lot easier to catch. A good ripple fished
in the middle of the day produced several fish, including one
of more than 2.5kg, a good fish for that part of the Mataura,
before the fishing petered out again.