Hoping for fishable river levels

The rain is steadily falling as I type this but there has not been a dramatic rise in river levels yet, but if it continues for a few hours there will be.

The land is still dry and there is plenty of vegetation around to soak up the moisture.

I am nothing if not optimistic.

Last season, rivers rose in April and we had to make do with still-water fishing, not that there is anything wrong with that other than the fact the best river fishing is often in April.

Luckily the Mataura dropped at the end of the month.

I had a fishing class on the Mataura last weekend. The water was in good order, lowish and clear, the weather was good, fine, warm and not much wind.

Perfect you would think. We thought so, but not the fish.

We did pick up a few in the ripples in the morning and were greatly encouraged by hatching duns in the afternoon but few fish rose to them.

Again, we picked up a few in the ripples on the nymph.

Trout live mainly on sub-surface food probably because there is a lot more of it than there is surface food.

In fact, more than 90% of a trout's diet is made up of subaquatic organisms.

This is why even when there is some surface food trout ignore it.

So, if you know there are trout in the water and they are not feeding on the surface then it is sensible to fish a sunken fly.

It makes no sense at all fishing a dry fly.

You may catch the odd fish but the odds of catching fish would be better fishing sub-surface.

One attraction of fishing to rising fish is that you can usually see what they are taking so it is easy to pick an imitation that looks like the natural thing.

It is also easy to pick a good imitation to fish blind, especially in a river like the Mataura as trout feed mainly on mayfly nymphs.

In fact, trout feed mainly on small brown things between 1cm and 1.5cm long so if your fly meets these criteria, then you have a good chance of catching fish.

The only other variable you need to think about is depth.

If the fish can be seen in the water that is easy to accommodate but if you are fishing blind and not catching anything vary the depth.

It is possible to fish two depths at once by fishing a weighted fly on the point and an unweighted fly on the dropper above it.

If you fish the kiwi dropper by tying the lighter fly to the bend of the heavy fly, they will both fish at the same depth.

This is all hypothetical and hopefully we will not need to do this if the rivers stay at a good fishable level right until the end of the season.

Think positive.

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