A few rivers dropping to prime fishing levels

Mike Weddell practises casting on the Silver Stream ahead of the start of the fishing season...
Mike Weddell practises casting on the Silver Stream. PHOTO: PETER MCINTOSH
There is not much of the season left, so the priority should be to get in as much fishing as possible before the end.

Luckily most rivers have dropped to a reasonable fishable level and those that look the best are the Taieri, along its whole length, the Pomahaka, the Waipahi and the Mataura is just about there.

The Clutha is very high, but dropping and clearing and should be fishable by next week.

Still waters are worth fishing with the Central Otago lakes being very high but dropping.

I have been in Wānaka this week, running a fishing course, which I look forward to every year at the end of the season.

As well as the course, I look forward to getting out on to the upper Clutha in the evenings to fish the sedge rise.

I was somewhat disappointed to find the river running at 400cu m which is up in the bushes and lapping the outlet track.

I walked down the track looking at the spots that I usually fish, but there was only one spot that I could get to the water’s edge where I could cast and even then it could only be a roll cast.

Luckily, there was a small area of slack water in front of me, which I deduced (hoped), fish would move into to take sedges, as it got dark.

I stood in that one spot role casting for 2 hours out to the edge of the raging current and pulling my deer hair sedge into the slack water.

On the positive side, I did see a couple of rises and had two splashy rises to the fly and one savage take, none of which were hooked. Not the greatest night’s sedge fishing, but at least I found some fish and my new headlamp performed up to my expectations.

A visit to Paddock Bay with the class was equally challenging, the water was right up into the grass and looked promising, but a strong northwest wind did not help the cause and only one fish was seen before everyone had had enough.

It was good experience for the class, battling the wind to get the fly on the water, although I suspect that they may not have thought of it that way.

On the way to Wānaka I stopped off at a second-hand bookshop in Alexandra, as there is usually a good array of fishing books there and there was this time too.

I go through the shelves with a fine-toothed comb looking for interesting — to me that is — fishing books and was with mixed emotions that I spotted one of my own books.

After about half an hour, I had three books selected, all of them published over 70 years ago.

It is amazing how many ideas that crop up in modern fishing books have been written about years ago.

Unfortunately reading them will not help much in deciding where to fish this weekend, I will have to work that out for myself.