Still options aplenty despite higher levels

The rain last weekend pushed up river levels and showers during the week have kept them topped up in many cases.

However, there are waters that are fishable at the weekend.

Most of the smaller streams in South Otago are fishable, such as the Waipahi and Waiwera and the west branch of the Tokomaiairo.

In Southland most of the waters are too high for good fishing. Even waters that are above normal can be worthwhile fishing with spinning lures as long as the water is not too dirty. Ideally visibility in the water should be at least 30cm but the clearer the better.

Even if the water is high and dirty, if there is a hatch of mayflies, trout will rise to them and will be catchable on the fly.

Hatches are usually short duration so there is a lot on hanging around waiting.

Of course, there are still waters to fish all over Otago and with this being a holiday weekend there will be a lot of anglers heading to Central Otago where the lake edge fishing is worthwhile.

So too is the upper Clutha, especially around dusk when there is a hatch of sedge. The best time is from sunset and on into darkness although there is a chance of catching fish on a sedge pupa imitation an hour or so earlier.

I have had a couple of outings over the past week, one successful, the other less so. The latter was midweek on Sullivans Dam. It was a pleasant day but not much happened. There were very few rises and I only managed to interest three fish — one was just a bump at the fly and the others dropped off after a few seconds. It was interesting nevertheless as the water was over a metre down, changing the look of the place. Also, there is a lot of treacherous mud exposed so if you fish there, avoid mud and fish from the rock-lined shores.

The other outing was to Mathias Dam. It was quite a bit higher than the week before but looked good and there were a lot of fish rising, a lot of midge shucks on the water and a lot of adult midge in the air.

Logic indicated a midge pupa imitation was the fly to use. I persisted for a while without much joy so reverted to my usual damsel fly nymph on the point and a water boatman on the dropper. I had several takes and landed three fish in about 20 minutes, thinking I had cracked it. It was about an hour before I touched another fish. After lunch things picked up. Few fish rose but fishing into the deeper areas and giving the flies plenty of time to sink before doing a slow retrieve regularly produced fish.

For a complete change this weekend I will fish in Te Anau — ideally to naive trout feeding on sedges.

 - Mike Weddell

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