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The week started with high water at best and very high water at worst.
Streams that are usually a trickle were raging torrents close to or above historical flood levels. But it is amazing what a fine, relatively dry week can do. There are many rivers close to being fishable this weekend and a few that offer a good chance of catching a fish. In the latter category are the Waipahi and the Pomahaka. Other waters worth a look are Lee Stream and the Waiwera.
However, some waters will take weeks rather than days to drop to levels that are normal for this time of year. They include the Taieri, Clutha and Mataura. This is a pity, as the Taieri and Mataura usually have the pick of the fishing leading up to Christmas.
My pick would be the Pomahaka and it should get better over the next few days, followed closely by the Waipahi. Despite the floods there could be hatches of mayfly. These insects evolved in an environment prone to flooding and have adapted to cope with these conditions.
I remember fishing the Mataura once a couple of weeks after a massive flood. It was still above normal and slightly discoloured, but duns hatched, and spinners fell on the water and trout rose freely to them. Trout survive floods, too, and it is mainly small fish that get wiped out - the bigger ones get back to feeding quickly.
I like a challenge when fishing and the first challenge last weekend was to find accessible water. Not only were many rivers out, but so too were roads with slips and floods. Our regular road to the Maniototo through Middlemarch was closed but Murray and I were not to be deterred and we got there via the Pig Root (SH85). The Taieri was several hundred metres wide in places and several of its bridges were closed. Not that it worried us as we were intent on fishing on the Ranfurly side of the river starting at Rutherfords Dam. As with last week it was full to overflowing but clear. It was dull, cool and breezy with quite a chop on the water. I picked a spot that has produced fish in the past and almost immediately I had a fish follow the damsel fly nymph. A couple of casts later I hooked a fish It was nice fat rainbow of about 1.5kg. Shortly afterwards I had another take but failed to connect.
After flogging away for a couple of hours we decided to move to Blakelys Dam. It was windier there but not too unpleasant. I hooked a fish first cast. As I netted it, Murray hooked an even better fish close by. Mine was just under 2kg and his was 2.5kg. The third and last fish was the smallest but in great condition. It was full of snails and immature damsel fly nymphs. It would be nice to fish a river on the next outing.
- By Mike Weddell