Where to fish, not whether, the question

The fine weather this week has done wonders for rivers and streams. All are now fishable and some are just about perfect, which is ironic, as the cicada fishing on the tussock lakes has taken off in the last week.

So the big decision this weekend is made even more difficult by the number of choices available.

If you like cicada fishing, the choice is easy: it will be Onslow, Poolburn or Loganburn. For those keener on rivers, Mataura, Pomahaka or Taieri would be good for starters, with any of the smaller streams as alternatives.

The lowland rivers’ equivalent of the cicada is the willow grub and in this warm weather, there is a constant rain of willow grub on to the water. This attracts trout to the surface and the sight of large trout sipping these tiny grubs from the surface will either quicken your pulse or cause you to sigh in despair. Or both, in that order. Do not give up too quickly. There are huge numbers of the natural available to the fish and they will not pick out your imitation first cast. The same applies to cicada fishing. For both, making sure that the trout sees your fly is critical, so get it as close to the fish as possible, without spooking them, of course.

I went fishing midweek on a perfect day, warm, sunny and calm. The Taieri was a little misty but that helped hide my mistakes. I expected to see plenty of rising fish, especially to damsel flies but the few that did rise were catchable. I got off to a good start with a nice fish on a water boatman, from a small backwater. The first fish from the river proper was on the same fly. I came to one pool with three fish jumping out at damsel flies. My damsel fly imitation did not work for the first two but the third, which luckily was the biggest, took it straight away.

Further upstream I spotted a dimple rise immediately above a tangle of branches under a willow. It was moving about a bit, suggesting it was taking willow grub. It was briefly happy to take my size 14 hare’s ear nymph. I restored its happiness by returning it. For the next hour or so, there was a succession of fish dimpling next to the bushes and most of them took the same nymph as the first fish. It could be a coincidence but that good spell of fishing occurred when it clouded over and a breeze from the southwest sprang up.

If you want to expand your fly fishing knowledge, a good place to be is the banks of the Mataura on Saturday, February 20, 3pm 7pm, River Tce, East Gore. On The Fly is organised by the Gore District Council and there will be demonstrations by expert angler Chris Dore. Check it out on Facebook http://bit.ly/2Y9GfdN.


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