Angling: Hoping for better

Winter has arrived. Hopefully, it is temporary, as there are still three weeks to go until the end of the regular season.

Although it is not normal to have such cold weather in April, it is not unusual, either. As long as the water is clear enough and not too high, there will still be a chance of catching a few fish.

Again, the smaller waters are dropping the quickest but some of the larger waters, such as the Mataura and Pomahaka, have not risen too much and these should be worth a visit at the weekend. Of the smaller waters, the Waitahuna is looking good so far and so is the Waipahi.

The Waitaki has been running at a steady, medium level for a while now and can fish well at this time of year.

The cooler weather will concentrate any mayfly hatches in the afternoon, so any rise will be short-lived but should produce a few fish. Sedge on dusk can still be worthwhile, even when it is cold, and midge on still waters early in the morning, especially if it is calm, can give good fishing.

Murray Smart and I fished the Mataura last weekend.

It was cool and drizzly when we started. It soon faired up but remained overcast and calm, despite the forecast of northerlies. We fished some likely water with the nymph to start. Then some spinners appeared and although they were few and far between, there was the odd rise to them.

Murray caught several on the spinner while I managed to lose a couple and miss a couple more. By lunchtime I had not landed a fish.

We moved to another pool after lunch and there were fish rising steadily. I initially went to spinners and then to duns. I managed to land one on the spinner then struggled, I tried an emerger, a dun and a combination of nymphs. The emerger produced one fish, nothing came to the dun and the nymph produced another, I was not having a good day.

Wandering back downstream to a ripple that I had fished in the morning, I fished it through with a nymph, I hooked and lost four fish in a row. The day was getting worse. Then things picked up, with several fish in a row coming to the net.

Just below this ripple and near the bank was a large area of slack water covered in spent spinners and nymph shucks. Slowly cruising this area were several trout, sipping down this surface. I had a couple of casts at the nearest fish with the nymphs that worked in the ripple and I was into it. Then followed a couple of takes that did not produce a hook-up, before another fish was brought to the net.

Then the rises stopped and it was time to call it a day. It was a memorable day's fishing but for all the wrong reasons. Next time will be better.

- Mike Weddell

~ Rivers and lakes ~

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 weekend is looking good but unfortunately the rivers are up after another fresh during the week. The salmon and trout will be on the move, so if you are a river angler, wait till the rivers start to drop and target the deep holes with a silver coloured toby. The best places to fish this weekend would probably be the high country tussock lakes which have been fishing well.

North Otago: The Kakanui, Shag and Waikouaiti Rivers are all high and discoloured. Discoloured water has made fishing difficult in the Waitaki Lakes but fishing small stream deltas can be productive. Pam at the Lake Benmore Holiday Park reports the fishing at the top of Lake Benmore is the best its been since before Christmas. The salmon season on the Waitaki River and tributaries is now closed.

Southern Lakes: Lakes Wanaka, Hawea and Wakatipu are all high and clear. Landlocked salmon will be congregating near the Hunter, Dart, Makarora and Matukituki River deltas and should be starting their spawning over the next two weeks. Some places that are quite often overlooked are the small streams that flow into our major lakes. Stone Creek, Twelve Mile Creek and Simpson Creek all flow into Lake Wakatipu on the road to Glenorchy. These creeks and their deltas can produce some nice fish this time of year. Try small silver spinners, or bead head nymphs, if you are fly fishing in these areas.

Central Otago: Lake Dunstan is medium and clear and fishing has been a little difficult in the last week or so. The Manuherikia River is slightly high but in good order and well worth a look, while the Nevis is normal and clear. Loganburn and Manorburn Dams are fishing well with reports of good numbers of fish being caught using spinning gear.

Taieri catchment: The Taieri River is high and discoloured in the lower reaches. The upper Taieri River is high, and tannin stained, and in good order for spin and worm fishing. This cold snap will really get fish moving into the pools around tributary stream mouths right through the system. When the river clears, red and gold spinners are a deadly weapon at this time of year. If you are fly fishing, a couple of bead head nymphs fished down and across work well.

Southwest Otago Area: Most streams are high, rising, and discoloured from the recent fresh over the week. The Waipahi and Pomahaka Rivers are high and rising. Once again, the Mataura River is rising and slightly discoloured at Gore, but fishable at Parawa, which can provide some great mayfly hatches this time of year.


Waterway - Water level/condition
• Kakanui River - High, dropping
• Shag River - High, rising
• Taieri River at Canadian Flat - High, dropping
• Taieri River at Outram - High, rising
• Pomahaka River - High, rising
• Waipahi River - High, rising
• Clutha River at Balclutha - High, fluctuating, slightly discoloured
• Clutha River at Cardrona - High, clear
• Hawea River - High, fluctuating, clear
• Lake Onslow - High, clear
• Lake Dunstan - Medium, clear
• Lake Hawea - High, clear
• Lake Mahinerangi - High, clear
• Lake Wanaka - High, clear
• Lake Wakatipu - High, clear


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