Worth trying for bite despite wintry blast

Mike Weddell
Mike Weddell. PHOTO: ODT FILES
The great day is here, opening day, and right on cue the weather leading up to it has conspired against keen anglers everywhere.

However, I am sure there will be many of us out there giving it a go despite the unseasonal wintry blast.

To encourage us the weather for today is predicted to be fine.

One thing is certain, the further west you go the less likely you will be to find rivers that are in good order.

Another big negative is that with snow melt in the streams the water will be very cold.

As I type this, I have checked the regional council websites and some streams are down to 2degC.

With opening days forecast to reach 14degC, smaller waters could be above 10degC by mid afternoon and that is a reasonable temperature for fishing.

One advantage of the cold conditions there is little advantage in being on the water at the crack of dawn.

Most fish activity will be in the afternoon.

To help boost your spirits even more, here is a story of an opening day past.

It was March 22, 1964 and I had missed the school bus so had to go fishing.

When I got to the river a couple of paddocks away from home, it was snowing heavily, with flakes as big as half crowns (ask someone old) drifting down in the still air.

Soon the ground was covered in ankle-deep snow and flies began to hatch.

They were large dark olives, the main spring mayfly in the north of England, the species that the fly Greenwells Glory was used to imitate.

Within minutes of the hatch starting, trout were rising everywhere.

Unfortunately, my wet fly did not tempt them, and it was not until they stopped rising that I caught anything. Mayflies here also hatch in wintry weather so do not despair.

If you are a spin fisher, fish slow and deep and most of the time a dull lure is the best.

The same applies to fly fishers, fish a weighted nymph deep and keep doing so until there are rises to target.

In the morning it may seem that the river is lifeless but persist.

In small streams such as the Tokomairaro or Lee Stream there will be some fish activity as long as the water is not too high.

For the fly fisher a hare’s ear nymph #12 weighted is the way to start but when fish appear on the surface switch to a #14 unweighted. If there are definite rises, try an emerger.

Bait fishers are lucky, they can fish the same way in any conditions, except they are more likely to die of hypothermia as they do not move around as much as spin fishers and fly fishers.

If you cannot find a suitable river to fish, there are dams to target.

At the start of last season, one of my better days was at Sullivans Dam, landing several nice rainbows.

Wherever you fish on opening day or at the weekend, tight lines and warm feet.

-- Mike Weddell

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