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The fine autumn continues, giving us perfect conditions for fishing.
The water temperature is gradually dropping but still very warm for the time of year.
The lower Taieri reached 18degC on Wednesday afternoon, ideal for wet wading and trout feeding. Most waters have been falling 3degC by morning but warming quickly once the sun comes up.
Typically in autumn, trout feed more in the afternoon than in the morning, so an early start is not needed. However, from Sunday, when the clocks go back, it would be a shame not to take advantage of an earlier sunrise, as there is an hour less in which to fish at the end of the day.
The afternoon hatches of mayfly have not materialised — probably due to the warm water — but they will happen eventually. There are still a few willow grubs dropping on the water, and of course trout feeding on them are no easier to catch than they were in high summer. Some smaller waters are very weedy and there is a lot of algal growth so better options for fishing are the larger rivers such as the Clutha, Mataura, Taieri and Pomahaka, all of which are easier to cover due to low levels.
I had a couple of outings over the last week, both of them on the Taieri on warm cloudless days, but with completely different results. The first was on Strath Taieri. It started off cool and cloudy but it soon cleared and became hot by noon.
I first fished a favourite ripple blind with a weighted nymph. What looked to be the best part did not produce a fish, but the shallower area a few metres further up did, with a pair of nice fish coming to the net. There were few rises until the sun came out, then the odd one appeared and could be coaxed into taking a small nymph. I spotted two fish just before lunch lying on the edge of a ripple but they ignored my fly and did not seem to be taking any natural food either. I left them for the afternoon.
On returning I could not see them, so I fished carefully through the area and then found them off to one side in the shallows. I got one of them and the other did not like the commotion and disappeared.
Late in the afternoon I spotted a rise on the far side of a deepish flat and managed to catch it and realised there were several others there too. Catching a couple more was a good way to end the day.
The second day on the lower Taieri was much harder. I managed to catch two fish from under one bush. But it was very frustrating casting to several trout rising steadily beneath some bushes, as I could not get them to take — or to be more precise, only one took the fly but I did not hook it. But I know where they are now, so they had better look out!