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After heavy rain earlier in the week most rivers rose, some just a little, others a medium amount and a few rose a lot. East and North Otago escaped the worst of it and to the south the Waipahi and Waiwera are almost back to normal and the Pomahaka is getting close to a good fishing level. However, more rain is forecast for the weekend and that could spoil things for those keen to catch a fish. Of course, the dams will again save the day and if you are in Central Otago the flooded margins of the big lakes will be well worth an inspection, as trout cruise the shallows looking for drowned worms and insects. Any stream that is not too high and has willows on the bank will have a good chance of trout targeting willow grub. In fact, water that is slightly above normal and with tinge of colour can improve the chances of catching trout that are focused on willow grub.
My preference for fishing at this time of year is for the Mataura. It is rather high at the moment but it is dropping rapidly and if all goes well, it should be fishable for the start of the holidays. Even if the river is higher than is ideal, if you live close to the water, fishing as the light fades in the evening can be productive as sedges and mayflies appear on the water. This applies to any stream but the action can be brief and it is not worth taking a long drive to your favourite water for such a short spell of fishing.
If you think it has been wet in the south earlier this week, I was in the North Island and the rain was torrential and most of the streams I crossed were very high and dirty. At the end of last week I tried the stream that I had had some success on earlier. It was a bit lower than on my previous visit and much clearer. I only remembered that I had wished I had a machete when I was already on the water so it was bush-bashing again. Being such a small stream, less than a rod’s length wide in places, a small drop in height made a lot of difference as places that previously looked as if they would hold fish did not look so promising. Also, the trees seemed to have grown a lot in a few days and were even keener to grab my fly. I carefully fished all the likely spots and managed to hook a few fish on the nymph, as previously. They were far from easy to get out as it was easy for them to go through trailing branches. The best fish was hooked at the head of a short pool. It turned, ripped down the pool through a tree then across to the other side and buried itself in trailing grass. I managed to free it from these obstacles only to have it run into a log jam and break off. Time for a cup of tea, I decided.