Autumn can be rewarding time for anglers

Chris McDonald, secretary of the Southland Fly Fishing Club, fishes over weed beds on Rutherford...
Chris McDonald, secretary of the Southland Fly Fishing Club, fishes over weed beds on Rutherford’s Dam. PHOTO: MIKE WEDDELL
There is more than a hint of autumn in the air over the last few mornings, with fog in the valleys and a heavy dew everywhere else.

Although this shows the end of the season is nigh it can foreshadow some of the best fishing of the season. As the water temperature drops mayflies will begin to hatch during the day, usually from early to late afternoon, and trout will feast on the emerging duns. If the air is relatively warm and there is little wind there will also be falls of spinners. Both of these events give fly fishers a chance to cast to rising trout, some days for hours at a time.

The best rivers to fish for such sport are the Mataura, the Pomahaka and the Taieri but there will also be hatches on most rain-fed streams in the region.

Flies to use are simple: a nymph to cover fish before and early in the rise, an emerger if the trout are picky and a dun when trout concentrate on the surface fly. It is equally as simple when they are on spinners, my favourite being the upside-down spinner pattern.

The above rivers are all in good fishing order, so get out there this weekend.

Last weekend, I fished the Maniototo dams. Chris McDonald the secretary of the Southland Fly Fishing Club asked me to show him the delights of the dams that I have often mentioned to him. We were lucky with the weather, having two fine, calm days although it was rather cold and foggy in the morning. The dams were clear but rather weedy but otherwise much was in our favour. We started on Mathias Dam, which was very high and had a lot of floating algae. There were few rises and even fewer takes. Chris landed a smallish but very fat fish and I was broken in the weeds.

We moved on to Rutherfords. The sun was out and there were rising fish as soon as we got there. They were swirling along the outer edges of the weed beds and it involved some deep wading to be able to cast to the fish. I presumed they would be taking damsel fly nymphs or water boatmen, so fished the damsel on the point and the boatman on the dropper.

The pressure was on as Chris asked me to demonstrate how to catch the nearest rising fish. Much to my relief, it only took a few casts to hook it and land it, the latter not being guaranteed due to the weed. All was well and a nice 2kg fish came to the net. Chris had go a little further along the bank and soon had slightly bigger fish in the net. Both fish took the damsel fly nymph.

Over the rest of the day and the following day we caught and lost several nice trout up to 2.5kg. Surprisingly, there were no adult damsel flies on the water and the trout that we kept was full of water boatmen.


 

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