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Rivers are up a little as I write, but they will have time to drop by Sunday. Bigger rivers such as the Taieri and the Mataura will be marginal, whereas smaller streams should be fishable. One advantage of the cooler weather this week is that it will drop the temperature of rivers and streams as some of them were getting too warm for comfort from the trouts’ point of view.
I have noticed quite a few beetles of various sorts flying around recently and many of these end up on the water and trout gladly take them. Most of these beetles are small and should be imitated with an artificial of size 14 or 16.
There are lots of different beetle patterns to be found in anglers’ fly boxes and it does not seem to matter much which one you try. I only carry a couple of patterns: a foam-bodied green beetle and the more traditional coch-y-bondhu. The latter works well when trout are feasting on cicadas too and there seems to be fewer rises without a hook-up, which can be exasperating when fishing in the cicada feeding frenzy.
On the subject of cicadas, anytime soon when we get a few warm days in a row we can expect the emergence to start. It can take a day or two for the trout to start feeding on them, but generally trout are easier to catch in the early days of the emergence. Often, in the peak emergence, trout can become sated and will go off the feed for a while.
During the early part of the day when the first few cicadas begin to fall on the water, trout will take every one until they have had enough and then are hard to tempt with the fly. I have found that when they go off the cicadas it is still possible to catch them on something different with water boatmen or damsel fly nymphs working for me in the past. If fish have stopped rising to cicadas it is a waste of time fishing a cicada imitation, so try something different.
On the odd warm days that we have had, trout have been feeding on willow grub. I fished the Waipori last weekend and almost immediately saw the tell-tale dimple rises under the rises. Getting into a position to enable me to get a fly to them was a major problem as the banks were overgrown with gorse and broom and the water too deep to wade.
Surprisingly the trout were not that spooky as they often can be. It could have been my superior stalking skills, but, probably not. Eventually, I managed to get the fly in the right place and the fish took it but dropped off after a few seconds. It would have saved a lot of effort if I had spooked it straight off.