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Appropriately enough summer conditions are prevailing on most waters which are low, clear and warm.
One exception this week has been the lower Taieri which rose after heavy rain midweek. It is now dropping and should be in good order by the weekend.
So it looks like the difficult decision of where to fish is going to be even more difficult this weekend as there are so many good places to go.
If you cannot go fishing for a day this weekend but are free in the evening the decision is a lot easier as a couple of hours around dusk can produce as many fish as twice as long in the middle of the day.
On lowland waters, expect beetles to fall on the water on darkness as well as sedges hatching. If it is calm, spinners should be on the water while it is still light, and if trout are feeding on them, the characteristic rise is a gentle sip usually in the flat water. The rises to sedge and beetles are splashy.
Trout are well on to the willow grub now and they can be seen gently rising, under willows of course, for hours on end. They can be very frustrating a lot of the time, but just occasionally, they can be relatively easy. As much with fishing for trout there is neither rhyme nor reason for whichever mode they are in.
Last Sunday I fished the lower Mataura, my first visit this season. I chose one of my favourite stretches near Wyndham to start the day. It was warm and calm and, as I began, fishing spinners began to fall and there was a spasmodic rise to them.
It took me a while to get a fish and even longer to get the second. They were moving around a lot and the fly had to be placed as quickly as possible after a rise was spotted. This tactic worked three times in more than an hour.
Round the corner was a long ripple which has produced many of trout for me over the years but not this day. I did not touch or see a fish as I fished it from bottom to top. Back where the spinner rise had been I did manage to catch a couple on a small bead head nymph.
In the afternoon further upstream there was still the odd spinner on the water and a few duns hatching. In a slack area on the inside of a bend there were several fish picking off surface food.
Oddly enough, one of the fish was jumping out of the water taking damsel flies on the wing yet the rest of the fish were feeding sedately on or beneath the surface. They obligingly took a small unweighted hare's ear nymph.
Once I had finished wreaking havoc in this area I fished some very promising water blind with the nymph. Unfortunately it did not keep its promise.
In the late afternoon the fishing just petered out but the day was good enough to have me planning my next visit as I drove home.
- Mike Weddell
RIVER AND LAKE CONDITIONS
River and Lake conditions are supplied by Fish and Game Otago with information from the Otago Regional Council received at 9am yesterday.-
General Situation: Many rivers received a small fresh recently but have dropped back down to low or normal levels quickly. Water temperatures in some streams have been approaching 20degC. Cooler weather predicted for the weekend may reduce temperatures and increase trout activity through the middle of the day. Most waterways should be in good condition for fishing this weekend.
North Otago Area: Most streams are low and clear. The Waitaki lakes continue to fish well. It is often a good idea to head up to the Waitaki lakes before the holiday crowds arrive. Trolling off river mouths and weed beds early in the morning with Rapala type lures is normally fairly productive. There are a lot of krill in Dunedin Harbour which have attracted baitfish, barracouta and a few salmon around 5kg.
Southern Lakes Area: Limit bags of salmon have been caught off the Hawea Dam wall. High-country trout often target green beetles and damsel fly nymphs in December so green is a good colour choice for flies and lures. There have been some mayfly hatches on the Upper Clutha around midday recently. If no mayfly activity is apparent, try fishing with a large Dobson fly larvae imitation, such as a big heavily weighted hare's ear nymph.
Central Otago: The Manuherikia River remains low and clear. On calm evenings anglers can expect mayfly hatches. The Nevis is low and clear. Fishing in Lake Dunstan has been challenging during the day and better in the evenings when trout move into the shallows to chase bullies and aquatic insects. Hamill's Killers and Mrs Simpson lure flies are often effective. Good numbers of salmon have been caught in the deep water in front of the Clyde Dam.
Taieri Catchment: The Taieri River is low and clear again after receiving a small fresh. Good numbers of flounders and a few trout have been caught near Henly by anglers fishing with worms. Lake Mahinerangi is in good condition. Schools of perch often move into the shallows as water temperatures heat up. These are great sport on light spinning gear.
Southwest Otago Area: Most waterways are in good condition. The Waipahi and Pomahaka are back down to low levels after rising slightly. Try fishing beetle imitations on calm evenings. The Clutha River between Roxburgh and Beaumont (which is easily accessed off the Millennium Track) is often overlooked by anglers. Locals have been catching some well conditioned trout in this section. The Mataura River is low and clear and has been fishing fairly well.
• Kakanui River - Low, steady
• Shag River - Low, steady
• Taieri River at Canadian Flat - Low, steady
• Taieri River at Outram - Low, steady
• Pomahaka River - Low, steady
• Waipahi River - Low, steady
• Clutha River at Balclutha - Medium, fluctuating
• Clutha River at Cardrona - Medium, steady
• Hawea River - High, fluctuating
• Lake Onslow - Medium, clear
• Lake Dunstan - Medium, clear
• Lake Hawea - Medium, clear
• Lake Mahinerangi - High, clear
• Lake Wanaka - Medium, clear
• Lake Wakatipu - Medium, clear