Spring weather not helping anglers

Otago Daily Times angling columnist Mike Weddell on the Waipahi River. Photo: Supplied
Otago Daily Times angling columnist Mike Weddell on the Waipahi River. Photo: Supplied
Spring so far has been, well, spring-like, with the weather all over the place which creates havoc with rivers.

There have been short spells when some waters have been fishable, but most of the time conditions have been less than ideal. As the weekend approaches there are fine days predicted - in fact several fine days in a row - which should improve the chances of good fishing enormously. Most waters are high but falling, but to have a better chance of catching a fish still waters are a better option.

The season is open on all dams. However, Blakelys Dam is closed due to work being done on the dam itself.

The temperatures over the next few days will raise the temperature of the water, which will bring trout into the shallows. So, when approaching the water, be on the lookout for fish cruising the edges. The majority of the food there will be in the form of snails, water boatmen and midges, and casting an imitation of one of these in front of a fish will give a good chance of a take. Early morning or evening are the best times to target these fish.

One water that I hope will be in good order on Saturday is the Waipahi, as the 136th Waipahi Gold Medal fly fishing competition is being held. This will be my 39th time fishing the competition, and like the other competitors I have looked at the beat I have drawn and assessed my chances of doing well or otherwise. I like to approach the competition with the belief that there are enough fish to enable the medal to be won off any of the 29 beats. The challenge is to make the most of the beat drawn. I treat the competition as just another day on the water and try to fish my best throughout the day. You never know when you will catch fish. I remember once having two fish by 5pm and by 5.20pm I had caught another three to make the then limit of five and to take the bronze medal. One of the highlights of the day is the weigh-in, when you hear how others have fared, especially the hard luck stories.

One of the challenges is to keep retained fish in good condition, especially on hot day. The new reusable supermarket bags are good, much better than the old one-use bags. If the bag is dampened, the evaporation keeps the temperature down, preventing the fish becoming soft and slimy.

Over the holiday weekend, I fished the Kakanui - a river that I had a good day on last October. It was a lot higher this year; 7 cumecs as opposed to 1 cumec last year. The water was quite clear, the riverbed being visible in over a metre of water, which made spotting fish reasonable easy. Unfortunately, over the 5km that I covered, I only saw four fish and caught none of them. I hope next October is better.


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