Trout are always there, even if you cannot see them

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
River conditions have been stable in the last week, ideal for fishing, and look to continue that way, in the short term at least.

Autumn is a good time of year for fishing as we usually get fine, calm days with lots of insects and fish activity.

I have often read that trout feed voraciously in the autumn in the leadup to spawning. Trout feed voraciously all the time except if the water is too warm or very cold.

I have also heard anglers say there were lots of trout on a particular day but trout, especially brown trout, are there all the time. If you do not see them, that does not mean there are no trout; it just means you cannot see them.

So, when you go to your favourite water, always fish as if the next cast is going to catch a fish even if you cannot see any.

If I was to fish this weekend, I would fish the Pomahaka, the Mataura, or the Taieri but I am not fishing this weekend. Monday will be a different story as I will be fishing, but again in one of those three rivers.

If we have the calm, fine day there could well be a fall of mayfly spinners and the fish will be seen sipping them from the surface of slower water. There could even be a hatch of duns.

But if there is no sign of surface action, a nymph will catch fish. They are still there and feeding.

In the past few days, I have fished the Taieri and the Mataura. Both days were calm and overcast and I saw very few rises and the poor light meant spotting fish was difficult.

On the Taieri, I fished a weighted nymph in the ripples which resulted in one fish coming to the net. I also fished a small unweighted nymph on flat water, mainly casting under the trees on the far bank and that produced a few fish.

The Mataura River was different — there were fish in the ripples and there were a couple of unusual events. The first was hooking a fish in a shallow ripple which immediately took off into deeper water and broke the leader on a ledge.

I retied the leader and put on the same flies — a weighted nymph on the point and an unweighted on the dropper. I started covering the water where I had lost the fish and immediately had a take. I played out the fish and, to my surprise, when I was unhooking the fish there were two flies side by side in its mouth, not only two flies but two leaders each with another fly attached.

Later in the day fishing another ripple, I felt a strong take and on striking, it felt very heavy. Then a fish leapt from the water and took off, quite a small fish. On landing the fish, the lower part of the leader was gone.

Could another fish have been hooked at the same time?