The Shag River, near Palmerston. Photo by Bill Campbell.
The dramatic weather of the past few days will affect
fishing this weekend. The best advice I can give is fish a
still water if you are in the middle of the region. If you are
close to the east coast you should find the Shag, Waianakarua,
Waikouaiti and Kakanui Rivers fishable. The Taieri is looking
reasonable, too, and while the top of the river has been high
it takes a while for the water to work its way through the
On warm days, the tussock lakes are worth fishing but be wary
of washouts on the roads. Over the next week or so the first
cicadas could appear but even without them the fishing can be
just as good using a beetle imitation or a damsel fly nymph
during the day. In the evening or early morning look for a
rise to midge or sedge and for trout cruising the shallows
feeding on snails or waterboatmen.
One thing we can be thankful for is that the worst river
conditions missed the main holiday period. Over the last
couple of weeks there has always been somewhere to fish.
Murray Smart and I had an interesting day on the Pomahaka the
other day. The river was at a good height but tinged with
peat which made spotting fish in anything other than shallow
water difficult. It was especially interesting for me as I
fell in the water in the first half hour and since it was a
coolish day it took about three hours to dry out.
The fishing was a bit slow in the morning. We saw very few
fish, and most of those were in nigh-impossible situations.
In one particular section (that could best be described as a
tunnel of willows) I saw several good fish taking willow
grubs. After a lot of casting and hooking of grass and trees,
I managed to get the fly to a fish and it took the fly but I
missed it. Moving on, I spotted a fish in the open but lying
immediately upstream of a tangle of logs. I suspected it
would do a quick turn and dive under the logs if it was
hooked. Since chances were few and far between I gave it a
go. This time, luck was with me - as soon as I hooked it, the
trout dashed out into open water and came to the net
The afternoon was a little better - as well as the weather
being dry and warm, there were more fish which were more
obliging. I caught several up to 2kg which were feeding on
willow grubs. A dribble of mayflies were hatching during the
day but there were few rises to them. The fishing petered out
late in the afternoon and I did not see a fish for the last
half hour but the day could have been a lot worse.