Angling: Cast till you drop as fish eat late

Rivers rose briefly with the rain last weekend but since then have been dropping steadily all week.

Most waters are as low or even lower than a week ago, all of which means things are looking good for fishing this weekend.

Because water temperatures have risen, it is worth fishing early in the morning and late into the evening. Sedges and duns will hatch in the evening on flowing waters and midge and sedges on still waters.

Falls of spinners can be expected any time it is calm and warm, and midge will hatch in the early morning. I am sure fish will be feeding through the hours of darkness, either on beetles or sedges, so you can fish 24 hours a day if you feel so inclined.

Even though the big rivers are now fishing well, it might pay to have a last go at the smaller streams before they get too low or weedy.

The bigger rivers, such as the lower Taieri, Mataura, Clutha and Waitaki, are all fishing well, especially the latter, where sea trout are chasing smelt. The lower Taieri fishes well at this time of year to mayfly at dusk, and sedges and beetles into darkness.

Last week I had a day's fishing with Richard Fitzpatrick. We could not have picked a better day weatherwise: it was warm and sunny, and there was only the slightest of breezes.

We called in at the lower Clutha to start with and saw a lot of fish but only caught three between us, which in fisherman speak means Richard caught two and I caught one. Although the fish were moving all the time, there was little to be seen that they could be feeding on. The activity soon stopped and we headed off for the Pomahaka.

The Pomahaka looked good when we got there, although there were no fish to be seen. We began fishing blind with nymphs. I fished a deep pool and was fishing the run above when Richard walked past.

As I turned to talk to him, a fish grabbed hold of the fly. I tried to look as if it was meant to happen but the laugh and some remark about it being well planned suggested my attempts were in vain. To make matters worse, the fish dropped off just as I was about to net it.

Despite this inauspicious start, we began to land the odd fish here and there as we worked our way steadily upstream. Few of the fish we saw were rising but several took the nymph.

We eventually changed location, moving a few kilometres down the river, where we did find the odd fish rising and we managed to catch a couple each.

There were odd sedges on the water and a few duns and it was difficult to tell what the trout were taking, but they were happy enough with an emerger or nymph.

As evening drew on, the temperature dropped and there were fewer and fewer rises, so we called an end to a very pleasant day's fishing.


River and Lake conditions are supplied by Fish and Game Otago with information from the Otago Regional Council received at 9am yesterday. -

General situation: The weather for this week is looking good with long fine spells, light winds and few showers. Most waters are normal and clear and the fishing is looking just awesome! I love this time of year because fish are very active right through the day and can be caught at any time. The weather is warm enough to get insects moving, but the water has not warmed sufficiently to restrict fish activity in the middle of the day.

North Otago: The Kakanui, Shag and Waikouaiti are all low and clear. Brown beetles are on the go on warm evenings, and caddis are hatching in good numbers as well. The continuing warm weather has kept fish in the shadier willow-lined pools; this is a good place to target fish. All of these waters could do with some rain if they are to continue flowing over summer.

Southern Lakes: Back-country streams flowing into the lakes are all normal and clear and all seem to be holding good stocks of fish. Lakes Wanaka and Wakatipu are both medium and clear. Landlocked salmon have turned up again around the bottom end of Lake Hawea and Kidds Bush. These can easily be caught from the shore or, if in a boat, try jigging a silver or pink lure.

Central Otago: All waters in Central are normal or low and clear apart from the Nevis, which is slightly high, but clear. There are good numbers of landlocked salmon around the dam end of both Lake Dunstan and Roxburgh. The best time to catch them is at dawn or dusk with a pink or silver lure, as they tend to be deep; you need to let your lure sink as far as you can.

Taieri catchment: The Taieri is looking great right through this week. The Maniototo area continues to fish very well and there have been some large migratory fish caught in the Hindon area. Brown beetles are hatching in large numbers on warm evenings and there is also plenty of caddis. As the river level drops, spin anglers need to use smaller lures, and lighter nylon is also an advantage.

Dont forget the small streams that flow into the Taieri River, such as Lee Stream and Deep Stream; they can hold some good-sized fish at this time of year. Spin anglers are still reporting catches of good-sized sea-run trout in the lower Taieri River and Lake Waihola.

Southwest Otago: All waters are normal and clear this week. Smelt are running in the lower Clutha and there are plenty of trout chasing them. The Pomahaka is normal and clear and a few migratory sea trout are starting to show up in the lower and middle reaches. All other waters in south and west Otago are normal and clear.

 - Steve Dixon, Fish & Game Otago

Waterway - Water Level/Condition
• Kakanui River - Low, clear
• Shag River- Low, clear
• Taieri River at Canadian Flat - Low, steady
• Taieri River at Outram - Low, steady
• Pomahaka River - Medium, steady
• Waipahi River - Low, dropping
• Clutha River at Balclutha - High, fluctuating
• Clutha River at Cardrona - Medium, dropping
• Hawea River - High, steady
• Lake Onslow - Medium, clear
• Lake Dunstan - Medium, clear
• Lake Hawea - Medium, clear
• Lake Mahinerangi - High, clear
• Lake Wanaka - Medium, clear
• Lake Wakatipu - Medium, clear

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