Brief low water levels can be good news for anglers

The dry spell continues and waters are still dropping.

I crossed the Waipahi this week and I have not seen it as low before.

It is, at 0.24 cumecs, the third-lowest level recorded since records began in 1997, and is not far from the lowest level recorded.

These relatively recent low levels have probably occurred due to the destruction of wetlands in the headwaters last century.

Only a small fraction of wetlands exist compared to the number at the beginning of last century.

Let us hope they are no longer being destroyed and that new ones are being created and old ones reinstated.

Their destruction does not just affect fishing but whole fresh water ecosystems.

It looks as if the conditions for fishing this weekend should be good again, and with only a few weeks to go until the end of the season we need to make the most of it.

At least that is my excuse for going out again.

I tend to think that low water conditions are good from the angler’s point of view as it concentrates the fish and should make them easier to find, but if waters remain low fish insect populations drop. But a temporary drop should help us catch more fish.

The Mataura is the lowest it has been this season yet; on my visit midweek, fish were hard to find.

Normally I would expect to see fish as I blunder around, spooking the odd one here and there, but I spooked very few.

I saw on rise for the day and fished blind all day, although I did spot one which I caught.

The ones that I caught blind were on the weighted nymph, and I found two areas that produced a few fish each and for long spells nothing in between.

When fishing is like this it is easy to assume that there are few fish in the river, but the fish are there as I have seen them on previous visits.

When fish are hard to find it is just a matter of plugging away until something turns up.

It was completely different on the upper Taieri last weekend — there were fish showing as soon as I started.

They were not rising but swirling along the edges of weed beds in the deeper pools and a diving beetle imitation plonked close to them had the desired effect.

As the sun got higher the fish became spooky, but the warmth also brought spinners back to the water to lay their eggs and to provide a ready meal for trout.

Seeing the rise enabled the trout to be spotted well ahead and a stealthy approach made.

This resulted in the odd fish coming to the net.

When I moved to another spot after lunch there were fish rising there too, and the first pool produced a couple of fish but it was a while before I saw any more.

Luckily a few more appeared before it was time to pack up.

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