Most river levels returning to normal after big floods

Mataura River looking south from the bridge on SH1 at Gore. Photo: Gregor Richardson
Mataura River looking south from the bridge on SH1 at Gore last week. Photo: Gregor Richardson
Conditions are returning to normal on many waters such as the Taieri, Pomahaka and the Owaka and Catlins rivers.

The Pomahaka, in particular, dropped very fast from 493cumecs last week to 7cumecs this week. Fine weather should restore things to normal with fish locked on to willow grub as they were in the Pomahaka before the floods. The lower Taieri is dropping more slowly and is quite peaty but for spin fishers this should be ideal, at a flow of 17cumecs. It will be at least a week before it drops to a good level for daytime fly fishing but should be fine for an evening rise.

Given fine weather, a visit to the tussock lakes should be worthwhile, since we are in the middle of the cicada emergence period. The weather does not need to be fine to catch fish on the cicada once the fish have had a taste of them, but it is a lot more pleasant for the angler. Trout will take an artificial cicada, even if there are none on the water. In fact, it may well help the angler as there are no naturals to compete with. It is also worth remembering that even though there are no cicadas on the water, the fish are still there and they still need to feed. They will be feeding on snails, water boatmen and damsel fly nymphs and are catchable on suitable imitations.

On the subject of suitable imitations for still waters, Murray and I fished the dams on the Maniototo at the weekend. The weather was fine with not too much wind, filling us with optimism. We tried Rutherfords, Blakelys and Mathias dams and despite the huge amount of skill that we applied to the capture of trout, we only managed one fish between us and that was in the first few minutes. We did hook a few but could not hang on to them. That big fish that I lost in Blakelys two weeks ago will be still there next time.

I had a mid-week visit to the Shag. The water had risen a little with last week’s rain but was still very low, compared to when I fished it in the spring. The flow was only 0.3cumecs. The water was very clear and in places very weedy. There were slow sections that were impossible to fish, as the weed covered the surface. There were also a lot of willows lying in the water, a result of recent high winds. A lot of water was too shallow to hold fish but the odd section had enough flow and depth to hold feeding fish. Catching them was a challenge, as clear water, sunshine and no wind to ripple the surface made fish very jumpy. But one cruising in the shade of a big tree did take a water boatman and made my day, if not his.

 

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