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The rain of recent days has mainly affected rivers to the north and east of the region, leaving South Otago and Southland unaffected. However, as the forecast is unsettled, regional council websites should be consulted before setting out to catch a fish.
At the moment, the small streams of South Otago - especially the Waiwera and the Waipahi - are in good order. If the Mataura consistently keeps dropping, it should be good for Sunday. An advantage of the recent weather is rivers are cooler for the time of year, in the mid-teens Celsius as opposed to 20degC or higher. Fish are more active and grow faster in these conditions.
If you are keen on stillwater fishing, it is just a matter of choosing your favourite water and hoping that the weather is suitable for fishing and access. The tussock lakes are well worth fishing at this time of year as are lesser waters such as Butchers Dam and Conroys Dam. The latter two are easily accessible and handy for a couple of hours' fishing if you are in Central Otago.
The big lakes, Hawea, Wanaka, and Wakatipu, can be worth a look, especially where grassy areas have been inundated, as this brings up worms and insects and trout move in to feed. The same is true of the Clutha River - where there's about half a metre of water in paddocks, there's a good chance of finding fish.
Rivers with a run of migratory salmon or sea trout will be well worth fishing as the water drops and clears. The Pomahaka and Taieri look the best bet. Last weekend, Murray Smart and I fished the Maniototo. We started on the Taieri, where the water was a little misty but at a good height. Contrary to the forecast, it was cool with showers but it warmed and brightened through the morning.
Most of my fishing consisted of herding feral geese, broods of mallards and swans. With patience and skill, I managed to land a couple of nice fish. Murray landed four for his morning's effort. By 11.30am, the wind rose to an uncomfortable level so we moved to Blakely's Dam, where whitecaps crashed against the dam and a lot of weed was responsible for a fish that Murray hooked getting stuck and breaking off.
We had a look at Matthias' Dam (high and dirty), then moved to Hamilton's Dam, which was slightly misty but fishable. I saw a fish rise behind the willow-covered island and gave it a choice of a diving beetle and a damsel fly nymph. It chose the latter and on examination was found to contain willow grubs and a green beetle. Luckily, there is usually one silly fish around.