Waters’ warmth means trout will feed earlier

I drove to Invercargill and back on Sunday and on the way down I was keen to see the state of the various streams that I would cross.

I was pleasantly surprised the upper Waipahi looked good as did the Kaihiku and Tokomairaro.

The Mataura was up a little but discoloured but I would have a better idea on the way home as there were some heavy sleet showers between Edendale and Invercargill.

There was also some fresh snow on the Slopedown Range which melted during the day colouring the Kaiwera and the Waipahi.

The Mataura was also higher and much dirtier.

Luckily, it has been fine and warm for most of this week and waters have been dropping steadily, so things are promising for opening down south.

Nearer to Dunedin, the Taieri is at a good level for this time of year as are Lee Stream and Deep Stream.

All the waters further north are very low, which seems to be their default state.

The one common factor for all waters is how warm they are, although it will only take a couple of frosts to knock back the temperature.

Most waters are at least a couple of degrees warmer than usual, which means trout will start feeding earlier in the day and any flies that hatch will also start earlier and be spread out through the day giving more opportunities to cast to rising fish.

Some anglers think that in the early part of the season trout will be easier to catch than later on due to not being pestered by anglers throughout the winter.

I do not subscribe to that point of view — I think we need to be on our top game at any time of the season.

Over the past 40-odd years, on average I have caught more fish in April that in any other month, which seems counterintuitive as fish should be more wary after being flogged over for the previous six months.

My theory is that each day is a blank slate in the mind of a trout and most of the time it only has two options open to it: is anything that is visible edible or not?

If the answer is yes, it will take whatever it is.

Of course, trout make mistakes because our lures and flies are not edible but often look edible enough.

So, if we plug away, we catch fish.

This week, I have been checking my line, tying on a new leader and topping up the fly boxes.

I have also repaired an annoying slow leak in my waders.

It was not apparent for the first hour or so and I could not see where the water was getting in.

So, I filled up the offending leg with water and it was immediately obvious as a steady drip from an invisible hole.

But they are now watertight again.

Everything is ready for the off except for the sandwiches, as they are prepared at the last minute as I prefer them fresh.

Tight lines.

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