Cast a line in Dunedin’s stillwaters

The Southern Reservoir is an easy place to take the children fishing - bring a picnic. PHOTO:...
The Southern Reservoir is an easy place to take the children fishing - bring a picnic. PHOTO: BRUCE QUIREY, OTAGO FISH & GAME
Dunedin is handy to many stillwaters and rivers for a family fishing trip. Three stillwaters stocked with hatchery-reared rainbow trout are  within 15 minutes’ drive from the city centre.

Otago Fish & Game officer Bruce Quirey has put together a guide of great places to fish in Dunedin over the summer.

Spin fishing is an easy way to get children started. Try a small black and gold Toby or hexagon lure. Rainbow trout often like brightly coloured lures such as Tasmanian devils. Soft baits can be deadly when fished slow and low.

Bait fishing is the simplest option for young anglers but remember bait, including scented artificial soft bait, is prohibited at Sullivans Dam and the Southern Reservoir.

Trout can be caught at any time of day but fishing in the evenings improves your chances.

Southern Reservoir

This fishery at Reservoir Rd, Mount Grand, is only 10 minutes from the Octagon. It is ideal for taking the children fishing and bringing a picnic. You can easily walk around the reservoir.

The reservoir is deep but there are shallow areas on the western bank. Trout are often caught near the water inlet but may be found throughout the dam.

Sullivans Dam

Sullivans is a scenic dam surrounded by native bush and pine forest. The dam has two access points in Leith Valley Rd near the top of the Northern Motorway. The easiest place to fish is the dam wall to the south. There are grassed areas for fishing and picnicking.

The other access point, 200m north, leads to the top of the reservoir. Climb over a stile and walk down a track.

Tomahawk Lagoon

The upper Tomahawk Lagoon has perch and hatchery-reared rainbow trout. This shallow lagoon has a maximum depth of 1.5m. The easiest place to fish is accessed via Oregon St. There is a recreation reserve with a car park and a playground.

Another access point is at Domain Hall, off Tomahawk Rd. Trout in Tomahawk Lagoon grow large feeding on bullies, so try a lure or soft bait that mimics these. Worm fishing with a float or bubble is an easy way to get children involved.

Try spin fishing with soft bait for trout and perch in the Taieri River. PHOTO: BRUCE QUIREY,...
Try spin fishing with soft bait for trout and perch in the Taieri River. PHOTO: BRUCE QUIREY, OTAGO FISH & GAME

Waters of Leith

The Leith holds large resident brown trout. Salmon enter the river in late summer and autumn. Spin fishing with soft bait lures, such as paddle tails, can be highly effective in the tidal sections.

Taieri River

Trout and perch are plentiful in the lower Taieri River from the mouth to Outram. The trout consist of resident browns and sea trout at various times of the year. The tidal influence reaches Allanton.

Below Allanton the river is deep and slow, and is best fished with spin gear or bait. Taieri Mouth is a charming spot for a family picnic and some fishing.

Other places worth a try include Henley and Outram Glen. A boat is needed to fish the gorge below Henley.

Try doing some exploring close to home this season. You may be surprised by the fish you will find in your local water.

A fishing licence is required to fish for trout or perch.

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