Darkness falling earlier can be useful for fishers

Murray Smart playing a good fish at the mouth of an upper Taieri backwater. Photo: Mike Weddell
Murray Smart playing a good fish at the mouth of an upper Taieri backwater. Photo: Mike Weddell
The rain this week has not done much harm to the fishing prospects for the weekend.

The Taieri catchment escaped with only a small amount of rain and is at a good level throughout its length. The Mataura, which was looking good before the rain has risen enough to affect fishing in the short term but should be good after a few days. Above the Waikaia will be better as most of the rain missed the upper river and it is falling steadily. The Pomahaka rose quite a bit but it, too, is falling and could well be fishable by the weekend.

Water temperatures are down and hatches of mayflies could occur during the day, more likely in the afternoons. There are still willow grubs dropping from the trees and trout will be feeding on these once the day warms up.

As the onset of darkness gets earlier it allows the fly fisher to take advantage of any evening rise without having to stay out too late. If it is a calm evening, there could be a fall of spinners. If not, there is still a chance of a fish or two on the sedge. If the adult sedge imitation fails to attract a fish, a pupa imitation will often work. Specific sedge pupa imitations are rarely necessary, a small bead head or soft hackled fly will catch fish. Cast it near a rising fish, let it sink for a few seconds, then lift the rod tip to draw the fly to the surface. Fish can hit the fly hard so use a strong tippet.

I had a couple of outings on the Taieri over the last week with mixed success. The session on the lower river was relatively quiet compared with recent visits but there were enough fish rising to keep it interesting. The hare’s ear nymph accounted for a few fish as usual.

The full day on the Maniototo was a bit more productive, although I saw few fish in the first hour or so. I fished a diving beetle to cover all the likely spots but only hooked a small one. Coming to a nice corner pool, I changed to a weighted hare’s ear and caught a decent fish straight away — but this could have been just a coincidence. It was probably due to the day warming up as it had ben quite cold to start with.

There was definitely more activity in the afternoon, there were more fish rising and more fish coming to the fly when fishing blind. As usual, the average size of the fish was better in the afternoon. It is noticeable that the better fish tend to be immediately upstream or downstream of a backwater that is flooded when the river is above summer level. They feed in the backwater and drop back into the main channel when the water drops.

A real bonus on that outing was it was fine and calm all day. I must get back there soon.


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