Most rivers still too high

A damsel fly nymph (top), water boatman (middle) and snail imitations. Photo: Supplied
A damsel fly nymph (top), water boatman (middle) and snail imitations. Photo: Supplied
The rain has fallen on and off over the last week and as many catchments are saturated, it only takes a little rain to raise river levels.

Consequently, there are few rivers that are in reasonable fishing order at the moment.

The most likely prospects for the weekend are the Waipahi and Pomahaka and North Otago streams, with the proviso that there is not too much rain before then.

If the Mataura continues to fall at the same rate it should not be too long before it reaches a fishable level, which is surprising as it was very high at the beginning of the week.

The good thing at this time of year is that vegetation is growing rapidly and soaking up a lot of the moisture. Willow trees also help, as transpiration releases a lot of water vapour into the air, all of which is sucked from a river by their roots.

This would account for millions of litres during a fine day.

If you are not fed up with fishing dams, they still provide a good option for catching a trout or two.

Many anglers, especially fly fishers, do not like fishing still waters. True, they can appear to be more difficult to fish due to their size, but the challenges are much the same as fishing flowing waters.

For the fly fisher this means identifying what trout are feeding on, the areas they are likely to be feeding and at what depth. For spin, and bait fishers the latter two are equally important.

It is important to fish the shallows first as brown trout will feed in very shallow water, picking up snails, water boatmen, damsel fly nymphs and bullies. This list covers the sort of imitations that fly fishers should use.

Spin fishers and bait fishers need to work out where to cast, where streams enter a lake, near weed beds and along a drop off to deeper water are likely places to find a greater concentration of fish.

Over the last week I have fished three different dams, Sullivan's, Mathias' and Rutherford's, with varying success.

A visit to Rutherford's with Murray Smart and Trevor Millar produced several fish to 2kg, all on water boatmen and damsel fly nymphs.

The strategy is to fish a likely area, where fish have been caught before or where they are rising.

There were few rises to help, other than very small stock fish recently released, so we fished locations of historic triumphs.

A good tactic is to cover a likely area for at least 15 minutes, as still-water fish are moving to find food and during that time there should be a few fish coming within range.

The odd cast here and there is not as efficient, as more time is spent walking than fishing, although walking helps restore the circulation on a cold morning.

The other dams produced fish on the same flies that were successful in Rutherford's Dam.


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