Roll casting on windward shore best option in a gale

The changeable weather has messed up the end-of-season fishing. There is snow melt in the rivers rising in the mountains and low-country rivers are above normal.

The weather forecast for the weekend is for gales, so fishing could be a struggle. One way to get some comfortable fishing in is to fish the windward shore of a lake or dam. If casting a fly is difficult with a strong tail wind, stick with roll casting, which will be much easier for getting out a good length of line - not to mention safer, as there is less chance of hooking yourself in the back of the head.

Fishing river mouths around Central Otago's lakes at this time of year can produce some great results. Brown trout are gathering to run up the rivers to spawn and if any spawn near the river mouth, eggs get carried downstream and attract rainbows, which feed on them. These rainbows are in fine condition, as they have had a summer feeding and are several months away from spawning. Some of the biggest rainbows of the year are caught at this time.

It pays to use a sinking line and a fly I have had success with is a red setter, which is effectively two trout egg imitations on the same hook. Make sure you have plenty of backing on your reel and a strong tippet, as these rainbows really take off.

I am in Wanaka this week, running a fly-tying and fly-fishing course at Mount Aspiring College as part of the Upper Clutha Arts Council arts and activities week.

I have been doing this since 1990 and enjoy it immensely. It is so well organised and it is a pleasure to meet new groups of keen beginners each year. Some of them are not beginners, as I have had one person attend four times over the years, which could mean the courses are very good or I am a useless teacher. I am afraid to ask which one it is.

I also get a spot of fishing in, as the sedge fishing on the upper Clutha can be very good. Last year the water was low, which I like best. This year it is higher than I have seen it for many years, which restricts access to some of the best fishing water, unless you use scuba gear.

I had a go on Monday evening and there were a few fish rising. The odd fish gave itself up, all rainbows, which surprised me, as I have caught quite a few browns at this time of year. I tried a sedge pupa while it was still light but caught only a couple of small ones. The better fish rose after sunset and took the good old deer hair sedge. I will give it a go again tonight and hope it is warmer and calmer.

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