Westland's deluge has had little effect here

Amazingly, the heavy rain on the West Coast this week had very little effect on this side of the Alps. The Mataura and the Oreti both rose but within a couple of days they should be right again. Elsewhere rivers are still very low.

I was on the Maniototo the other day and the Taieri at Waipiata bridge was about as low as I have seen it.

When rivers are low there will be places that usually hold fish that hold nothing, due to being too shallow or lacking current to bring a stream of food to fish.

Fish holding spots at any height of water need to provide cover, a food supply and well-oxygenated water.

Fish may be in shallow water while feeding but need somewhere to bolt to when disturbed.

When rivers are low, look for the above characteristics to find fish. This usually means covering a lot more water than you would when the water level is normal, as fish will be concentrated in the most suitable spots.

I fished the Mataura at the weekend and it was a good example of how fish were localised in the low water. One of my favourite spots held no fish at all, probably because it did not hold any water - it was completely dry, a bare gravel bed in the middle of the river.

Of course, the trout had to be somewhere and they were in nearby areas still covered by water and could still be caught.

One section of river that I fished and have fished many times before seemed devoid of fish until I came to the ripple at the top.

I fished it blind with a nymph and almost immediately hooked a fished which tore off to the deeper water below, before dropping off the hook.

Although the ripple was quite small, I thought there may be a chance of more fish from it. Sure enough a few more casts and another fish was on the line. I hooked five fish in that small area but managed to net only three of them.

One surprising thing about Sunday's fishing was that there were very few spinners on the water, despite it being warm and flat calm.

On my previous visit there were spinners everywhere and fish rising to them. I saw very few rises on Sunday.

A holy grailfor fly fishers is a never-fail fly, a fly that will catch fish in any conditions, with the proviso that there are trout in the water, and despite the ineptitude of the angler.

There are anglers who claim to have in their possession such a fly but in their stories they use it only as a last resort. Surely, any sensible angler, if such a being exists, would put a never-fail fly on at the start.

Well, I can safely say that I now have a never-fail fly. I first used it several years ago and caught fish on it. Yesterday, I used it for a second time and caught a fish.

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