Angling: Fierce weather may tip scales

The Shag River, near Palmerston. Photo by Bill Campbell.
The Shag River, near Palmerston. Photo by Bill Campbell.
The dramatic weather of the past few days will affect fishing this weekend. The best advice I can give is fish a still water if you are in the middle of the region. If you are close to the east coast you should find the Shag, Waianakarua, Waikouaiti and Kakanui Rivers fishable. The Taieri is looking reasonable, too, and while the top of the river has been high it takes a while for the water to work its way through the system.

On warm days, the tussock lakes are worth fishing but be wary of washouts on the roads. Over the next week or so the first cicadas could appear but even without them the fishing can be just as good using a beetle imitation or a damsel fly nymph during the day. In the evening or early morning look for a rise to midge or sedge and for trout cruising the shallows feeding on snails or waterboatmen.

One thing we can be thankful for is that the worst river conditions missed the main holiday period. Over the last couple of weeks there has always been somewhere to fish. Murray Smart and I had an interesting day on the Pomahaka the other day. The river was at a good height but tinged with peat which made spotting fish in anything other than shallow water difficult. It was especially interesting for me as I fell in the water in the first half hour and since it was a coolish day it took about three hours to dry out.

The fishing was a bit slow in the morning. We saw very few fish, and most of those were in nigh-impossible situations. In one particular section (that could best be described as a tunnel of willows) I saw several good fish taking willow grubs. After a lot of casting and hooking of grass and trees, I managed to get the fly to a fish and it took the fly but I missed it. Moving on, I spotted a fish in the open but lying immediately upstream of a tangle of logs. I suspected it would do a quick turn and dive under the logs if it was hooked. Since chances were few and far between I gave it a go. This time, luck was with me - as soon as I hooked it, the trout dashed out into open water and came to the net relatively easily.

The afternoon was a little better - as well as the weather being dry and warm, there were more fish which were more obliging. I caught several up to 2kg which were feeding on willow grubs. A dribble of mayflies were hatching during the day but there were few rises to them. The fishing petered out late in the afternoon and I did not see a fish for the last half hour but the day could have been a lot worse.

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