Plenty of spots still fishable despite changeable weather

Mike Weddell with a 2kg trout from the Shag River on Sunday. PHOTO: SUPPLIED
Mike Weddell with a 2kg trout from the Shag River on Sunday. PHOTO: SUPPLIED
Fickle spring weather is still with us. Since I wrote last week’s column, we have had hot days, cool days, calm days, windy days and some rain.

The warm days have been good in raising water temperature and lowering river levels. The cool days have been dropping the temperature again and rain has raised levels.

Luckily, all these have not happened to all rivers. To the north and east, rivers are lower and warmer, whereas to the west and south the opposite applies.

The Taieri is in reasonable order and so is the Lee Stream, and with relatively dry weather forecast for the end of the week they can only get better. The smaller east coast streams are very low and weedy, but fishable.

Of course, there are plenty of stillwaters that are all fishable. There will be lots of good trout still in the Southern Reservoir, as the number caught on Take a Kid Fishing Day was down on previous years, and Sullivans Dam is also worth a cast.

Larger stillwaters such as Lake Mahinerangi and the Logan Burn Dam have been producing fish in the first few days of the season. The irrigation dams on the Maniototo have been well fished since opening and have produced reasonable bags of trout.

One method for stillwaters is fishing a fly, my choice being a damsel fly nymph. An alternative is a feathered lure such as a Mrs Simpson or a Hamills Killer, all fished slow and deep. Spinning using a dull lure, also fished slow and deep, will work.

Following the advice in last week’s column, I fished the Mathias Dam on opening day. I used a damsel fly nymph and caught a couple of nice fish; my fishing companion for the day, Trevor Millar, used the same nymph to good effect.

I also saw several other fish caught, mostly in the morning. Conditions seemed promising, the dam full and clear. The water temperature was much higher than opening day last year. The air temperature got up to 21degC, which made for pleasant fishing, although the northwest wind was not ideal.

The other outing that I had was to the Shag River, and that was a complete contrast weatherwise. It was dull all day with a cool breeze. The breeze ruffled the water, which, combined with the poor light, made it difficult to spot fish.

The Shag is very low and clear with a flow of 0.25cumecs, which is low even in the summer. I prefer a flow of about 2cumecs. Such a flow gives the trout more room to feed and they seem less spooky.

It pays to sight fish in the Shag as there is not a great number of fish in it. The quality of the fish compensates for the low numbers; the average is between 1.5kg and 2.5kg.

Bruce Quirey and I only managed to hook three fish between us, all on the hare’s ear nymph. Looking back in my diaries, it seems that sunny days are best on the Shag.

 - Mike Weddell

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