Santa's generous spirit spoils anglers

The anglers' Christmas present has finally arrived with all waters at a fishable level and all nicely wrapped in fine weather.

There is one problem - there always is a problem, if you look hard enough - which river to fish.

My pick over the next few days would come from the Mataura, Pomahaka, Taieri or one of the smaller streams in South Otago and Southland.

If you are holidaying in Central Otago any of the small dams and the Clutha are worth trying.

In Southland the Waiau has great sedge fishing in the evenings.

My son Chris kept a fish on the upper Taieri on Boxing Day. It was taken from a small oxbow and caught on a damselfly nymph.

Its stomach was full of diving beetles, damselfly nymphs and dragonfly nymphs.

When fishing any stillwater at the moment, an imitation of any of these is a good way to start until there is an indication the trout are fixated on some other food item.

I have caught quite a few trout this season with dragonfly nymphs in them, probably because I have fished dams a lot due to high rivers, but there are also a lot of adult dragonflies about this season, more than I can remember over the last few years.

Trout like dragonfly nymphs because they are a large item of food and one of them is probably the equivalent of two or three damselfly nymphs.

Every now and then, diving beetles appear in greater numbers and going from the stomach contents of Chris's fish, this is one of those times.

On the same day I fished a section of the upper Taieri using a diving beetle pattern fishing close to the bank on the deeper sections and dropping it downstream of overhanging bushes, all likely places for trout to lie.

The one trout that I saw in two hours popped out from behind one of the bushes and nailed my beetle imitation.

It weighed just over 2kg and was in great condition.

When fishing a diving beetle, it is a good idea to get the fly to hit the water quite hard so that it makes a splash, as this will attract trout unless you land it right on their head, when it will scare them.

Diving beetles crash dive into the water making a definite splash.

If the water is clear, trout will sometimes see them dropping towards the water and will nail them as soon as they hit the water, so be prepared for an instant strike.

I fished Sullivans Dam on Christmas Eve and had only managed to hook and lose one fish, so I tried fishing from the dam, casting out a damsel fly nymph as far as I could then just letting it sink with no retrieve.

After about a minute the line drew away and I was into one of those fat rainbows to be found there.

It worked again a few casts later.

Remember, you have to fish to catch fish.

- Mike Weddell

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