Very low rivers afford opportunities

A good fish caught in the lower Taieri on a size 14 hare’s ear nymph. PHOTO: MIKE WEDDELL
A good fish caught in the lower Taieri on a size 14 hare’s ear nymph. PHOTO: MIKE WEDDELL
All rivers and streams in the region are extremely low, and relatively warm for the time of year.

I notice on the regional council website that the Waipahi is at its third-lowest level on record and there is little rain forecast soon.

Low water is good for fly-fishers as the trout have less water to hide in and fish will still rise to surface flies.

More water is also accessible to the angler, especially in larger rivers such as the Taieri in the lower reaches.

At this time of year mayflies hatch in the middle of the day and if it is warm and calm can return to lay their eggs.

Both events give great opportunities to catch trout. With evenings being relatively mild a hatch of sedges can be expected around dusk.

Rises to sedges tend to be very splashy, so if you see such a rise put on a dry sedge to cover the rise.

As to where to fish, I am torn between the Mataura, the Pomahaka and the Taieri for my own fishing this weekend.

I usually make up my mind the day before an outing and check the river levels and weather forecast on the morning before leaving home just to be sure.

Sometimes I even get it right.

Over the past week I have fished the Taieri a couple of times below Outram and on Strath Taieri. The day on the lower river was cool with little wind and as the water was very clear it was easy to spot fish if they were close enough.

Most rises that I saw were close to the far bank under the willows and the fish were moving around, but with a bit of persistence I was able to get them to take a size 14 hare’s ear nymph.

The odd fish rose on the near side wherever there was a bush hanging over the water — these fish were a bit spookier as they were in shallow water.

I managed to fool a couple of them.

I fished a ripple through blind with a weighted nymph and caught one fish and that was it — I did not see another fish over the next 600 metres of river.

The day on Strath Taieri was completely different.

The weather was warm, calm and sunny and from the start there were a few mayflies hatching and trout rising to them.

The first fish I covered took the fly, but it was a while before I landed another.

The mayflies soon petered out and the fish concentrated on willow grub.

Most of these fish rose very close to the bank.

The ones on the opposite bank were easier to catch as casting straight across the river kept the line and leader away from them.

The fish rose steadily for about three hours and then suddenly stopped about 3pm.

I fished on for about half an hour, then called an end to a great day’s fishing.

- Mike Weddell

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