Forecast inspires cautious optimism for the weekend

The weather has taken a turn for the better and the forecast leading up to the weekend means we can be cautiously optimistic about the chances of catching a fish this weekend, Mike Weddel writes.

Rivers have been dropping steadily this week and even though they started at a very high level, the Mataura, Pomahaka, Shag, Waipahi and Deep Stream will be worth a cast this weekend.=

River temperatures have also risen enough for fish to be active from first thing in the morning right through to dusk. The warmth also points to an evening rise and even if a river is above normal, if there is a hatch of mayflies or sedge, trout will rise to them.

I remember the first spring I fished in New Zealand the Taieri at Outram ran high for weeks but the water was reasonably clear and fishing the last hour of daylight and into the dark was very productive.

This is also the time of day that the bigger fish start to move and give themselves away by the big swirls they make.

The Taieri is not very clear at the moment as the Kyeburn is pouring very coloured water into the main river and it will take a few days to clear up.

If it drops enough, I would like to fish the Mataura this weekend.

November can be a very good month on the Mataura, given clear water.

At this time of year, clarity is more important than height.

Trout are visual feeders and the further they can see, the better the chance of your fly or lure coming within feeding range of a fish.

Last weekend, Murray and I fished the Maniototo dams.

Driving up, the scenery was spectacular with the valleys filled with mist and the mountains covered in fresh snow and a clear blue dome overhead.

There was frost in places and when we started to fish, it was only 6degC.

There was barely a breath of wind and the water was flat calm. As we tackled up fish were rising.

I fished a damsel fly nymph on the point and a water boatman on the dropper.

On the third cast it felt as if I was pulling into weed. I lifted the rod and the weed came to life and a lively rainbow was in play and it turned out to be just under 2kg.

A short time later, I hooked another, smaller but perfectly conditioned 1.25kg fish, which I kept.

On gutting it, I found several dragonfly nymphs in it, as well as diving-beetle larvae and water boatmen.

I have not often found dragonfly nymphs in Maniototo trout but even if there are not many of them trout like them as they are a big mouthful and worth a dozen or more smaller food items.

Meanwhile Murray, who had gone for a wander further along the shore, returned with the fish of the day, which was over 2.5kg.

The dams are very full and should continue to fish well.

- By Mike Weddell

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