Be prepared for all weathers and enjoy the fishing

I have been out on the water three times in the last week. On two of those occasions it was pleasantly warm and on the other cold and wet. This tells us that if we go fishing, we need to be prepared for any sort of weather. Not going is not an option. Do not let the rain forecast for the weekend put you off.

Many waters are still high but some are in good order. The Mataura is approaching a good level, the Waipahi is looking good, as are other small streams. The lower reaches of the Taieri are still high but not too dirty and should be good for spinning, and the same goes for the lower Clutha. The Maniototo dams, too, are looking good with plenty of water in them and the weed growth is still at a manageable level.

I fished Sullivan's Dam with a group from my fishing class earlier in the week - that was the cold and wet occasion. Luckily, it was a southwest wind, which meant it was at our backs, making life a little easier. Despite the weather, we managed to catch a couple of fish and saw several rises. We are lucky to have dams locally so we can get in a couple of hours' fishing in the evening.

Last weekend I took part in the Waipahi Gold Medal fly fishing competition. I mentioned last week that it was my 39th time but that pales into insignificance compared with Jeff Hansen, who first competed when he was 18 and has not missed a year since. He turns 80 this week. Jeff has won the event three times that I know of, and been placed in it many times.

Another milestone was that of Tony Calder winning for the fourth year in a row, a feat that has not been achieved in at least the last 40 years. He has five gold medals now, as he also won in 2004.

There have been quite a few multiple winners and David Linklater leads the way with eight wins. Could Tony threaten this record?

It was very hot on the Waipahi last Saturday. When I left the river at 4.30pm it was 28degC. However, the river was rather high and quite murky - not great for fishing, as could be seen by the low catches.

Only 15 trout were weighed in and only the three medallists caught more than one. Tony had three weighing 3.36kg from section 29, Dylan Booth, a first-time competitor, was second with two fish for 2.83kg from section one and Tim Gibson was third, adding another medal to his collection, with two fish from section three, weighing 2.54kg.

Nigel Pacey, from Otago Fish & Game, collected the heads of the fish that were weighed so that the otoliths (ear stones) could be analysed to determine the age, growth rate and movement of trout in the catchment, which helps guide the management of the fishery.


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