Cicadas: different approach often needed

Cicadas can send trout into a feeding frenzy. Photo: ODT files
Cicadas can send trout into a feeding frenzy. Photo: ODT files
Another week, another weekend with rain raising river levels, but luckily, they have dropped during the week and are now lower than they were a week ago.

Some waters such as the Taieri and the Pomahaka still have some peat stain, which often puts off fly-fishers, who like to spot their fish.

Fish are still able to be spotted when the water is peaty. They are harder to spot but in water less than half a metre deep they can be spotted and are often less spooky than in clear water.

The answer is to fish slowly, checking out the water carefully before walking past. If you are dry fly-fishing, the peat stain is a definite advantage as the fish are less likely to spot the leader.

Mentioning peaty water brings to mind the imminent cicada season.

The tussock lakes, which are all peaty to a greater or lesser degree, should have cicadas landing on them in the next few days.

A short period of warm weather at this time of year heralds the emergence of these insects that can send trout into feeding frenzy, or not.

One day they can be smashing every cicada that lands on the water and the next they can be totally ignoring them even if the water is carpeted with cicadas.

I have heard anglers say that they flogged away all day with cicadas and even though there were hundreds on the water, the trout ignored their fly and the naturals.

This is where a change in thinking is called for.

If the trout are not taking the naturals, they are hardly likely to make a special effort to take your imitation.

If they are feeding, and you must think they are feeding or you would not continue fishing, you must assume they are feeding on something other than cicadas.

If they are not rising, whatever they are feeding on is sub-surface.

So what is available to the trout? Damsel fly nymphs, koura, water boatmen and snails are the most likely choices plus possibly diving beetles.

So the logical thing to do is to fish using an imitation of one of the above.

If there are big fish around, a koura imitation, such as a Mrs Simpson, would good option.

My next choice would be a damsel fly nymph as a lot of water can be covered quickly with it.

Damsel nymphs swim rapidly, so your retrieve should be quick, and as it is a big fly, fish will travel further to take it than a smaller fly.

The best time to target trout feeding on cicadas is when they first start to feed on them, right at the start of the emergence, or if the weather has been too cold for cicadas for a couple of days and they make a reappearance on the next warm day.

The same applies to any particular day when cicadas are falling. Once a few start falling on the water, trout will mop them up but will often stop feeding once they have their fill.

Hopefully, every third day will be hot.


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