Weekend rain could wreck anglers' prospects

As I write, rivers are rising throughout the South so prospects for river fishing this weekend are not good.

There could be the odd small stream worth fishing if the rain eases off. The one river that does look good is the Clutha, between generation surges. The lower river is quite low and the upper river is very low.

Heavy rain forecast for the West Coast could spill over the Alps and change that. Anglers might have to head to dams or backwaters to have any chance of catching a fish.

So far this season, the flies that have been working for me on still waters are water boatman and damsel fly nymph but I am sure that a midge pupa would work if trout are rising.

The important thing if there are no rises is to fish deep as the water is still quite cold. Once the fly hits the water when cast out, give it a while to sink before beginning the retrieve. The slow retrieve lets the fly stay deep. The trout are usually near the surface or deep, so keep giving the fly longer to sink if there are no takes until you pick up weed or hook the bottom. Then give a slightly shorter time on subsequent casts and you should be fishing just above the bottom or weed beds, then keep at it.

Since my last column I have not travelled very far to fish, just a couple of outings to Sullivans Dam. The great thing about being retired (or tired, as my granddaughter calls it) is being able to get in a couple of hours' fishing when the fancy strikes.

One of these outings was last Sunday. It was pleasant to start with a gentle northeasterly blowing but it soon gathered force and the temperature plummeted. I only saw two rises and did not catch either of them but did hook a couple, blind-landing one of them and by then I had had enough.

The second visit to Sullivans was on Wednesday and it was mild with hardly a ripple on the water when I got there. After about half an hour a few fish began to rise. Most were way out of range, although two did rise close enough to cover but to no avail.

I had a wander about and fished close to a weed bed and was soon into fish, followed quickly by another. One was on a water boatman and the other on a damsel fly nymph.

I wandered about again, trying from the dam, but the rain was falling steadily and the wind had picked up, so I went back to the weed bed where it was more sheltered and hooked a couple more, landing one of them. Then the thought of a nice cup of tea made me to decide to head home.


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