Spoiled for choice as waterways enter summer mode

Summer has arrived this week, maybe temporarily as far as the weather is concerned, but it has tipped rivers and still waters into summer mode.

I have my personal gauge to indicate this change: wading wet feels comfortable.

Water temperatures are into the mid-teens, which is several degrees higher than a week ago. They may drop again but, with longer days and warmer nights, not by much.

Over the past week some rivers have dropped to low summer levels.

The Waipahi, which has particular interest to those fishing the Waipahi Gold Medal this weekend, is below 2cumecs as I write, so a stealthy approach will be needed.

The Taieri has dropped throughout its length and is well worth fishing. The Mataura has reached a level to make it worth the effort of driving down there.

This is the hard part of the season with so many waters in good order — how do you decide where to fish?

It is easy to fall into a habit of fishing the same waters all the time. It adds interest to fish new waters every so often. I have done this over the years and many of these have become favourites.

The other factor that has changed in the past week is the number of insects, both aquatic and terrestrial, which increases the surface activity of fish.

Spotting rises increases the chance of catching fish as at least you know when you cast your fly or lure it is near a fish.

Sometimes fish do not rise even if there are lots of insects, but this tells us they must have found something better to eat beneath the surface.

I fished Blakelys and Rutherfords Dams last weekend and there were few rises, so I fished a team of two flies, a damsel fly nymph and a water boatman as there are plenty of these in both dams.

On Rutherfords, which was in great order, clear and weed free, I fished spots that I have caught fish in the past. I got off to a good start with a couple of fish in the first half-hour, although it was while before I caught any more.

In the afternoon I moved to Blakelys. It was in good order too, clear and weed free, but in the open it was very windy with whitecaps on the water. This can be an advantage as it hides the line and leader.

Things started well on my second day. I had a solid take and a few seconds later an impressive fish exploded from the water.

There were a few anxious moments when it swam through a weed bed and continued to jump with heavy weed on the line. Eventually, it came to the net.

However, the net was not up to the job as it only weighs up to 3kg and the fish took it to the bottom with a thump. Certainly, my best fish for the season so far.

I have made a note to get a net that weighs at least 5kg.

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