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The erratic weather this week could affect the fishing in some places this weekend but the majority of waters should be fishable. Smaller streams rose rapidly early in the week but dropped just as quickly.
Larger rivers, such as the Clutha and the Mataura, continue to fall slowly.
Even if streams are up and a little discoloured, trout will still be feeding on willow grub on warmer days and rising to sedges in the evening.
Still waters will fish well in most conditions but warm fine days are preferable from the angler's comfort point of view.
Midge in the morning and evening, followed by sedge as it gets dark, is the usual order of events.
In between, a damsel fly nymph or a corixa fished blind or to spotted fish will generally work.
Fishing the edges of weedbeds can be productive, as they harbour snails and corixae.
If there is a breeze, the downwind side of weedbeds is more likely to produce fish, as they feed there on items carried out of the weed by the ripple.
It is worth remembering that trout are constantly on the move in still waters.
If you see a fish rise and cover it and it does not take, it may not have seen the fly, so it is worth persisting until it comes around again.
Trout usually have a regular beat and it may take 10 minutes or even longer to make the circuit.
Of course, there may be several trout with a part of their beat in front of you and there may be several chances of a trout seeing the fly in a 10 to 20-minute period.
One strategy that I have found successful over the years is when I see several rises in one area, I will fish it, either to further rises or blind if none continue to show, for at least 15 minutes before moving on.
Also, if there is a spot where you have caught fish regularly in the past, it is worth spending time there, as there must be something to bring the fish in and, hopefully, it will do so again.
Trout are opportunistic feeders and most times will take a variety of food forms, and as long as you are presenting them with something they expect to see, there is a good chance of catching a fish.
Constantly changing flies is usually counterproductive, especially if it is done randomly.
It also reduces the time that the fly is in the water, which in itself reduces the chance of a fish.
- 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 major rivers throughout the region remain high and discoloured. Irrigation dams and the smaller streams are generally clear or clearing, and are in good order for fishing. The cicada season is fast approaching and anglers should start experimenting with large dry flies.
North Otago: The Kakanui is at a medium level and clear. The Shag and Waikouaiti rivers have risen slightly but remain clear. The Ahuriri River has dropped but it is taking a long time to clear. The Waitaki Lakes will remain discoloured for some time.
Southern Lakes: The larger rivers such as the Kawarau, Dart and Matukituki are still quite high and may remain discoloured for several days. Most medium-sized rivers, such as the Greenstone and Caples, are in good order and have been fishing well. The trout are looking up for terrestrial insects and large dry flies have been catching fish. The controlled fishery on the Greenstone starts on February 1. Avoid embarrassment and make sure you have a back-country licence where it is needed. Go online to the Otago Fish and Game website for more information.
Central Otago: Cicadas have been reported on the surface of Loganburn Dam, but trout have not begun to target them yet. Hopefully some cicada action will start up on the larger dams such as Onslow and Manorburn, as soon as we get a run of hot weather. The Manuherikia is clear but the fishing has been difficult, possibly because of high water temperatures.
Taieri catchment: The upper Taieri River has received a fresh and is now dropping and clearing. It remains at a medium level in the lower reaches. Some large sea-runs have been reported moving through the lower Taieri system. They are often found in the deeper holes. Try fishing damsel fly imitations on the irrigation dams and the upper river.
Southwest Otago: The lower Clutha is continuing to drop and clear. Spin anglers have been catching the odd fish near the edges. The Pomahaka is up slightly and discoloured from recent rain. Many of the smaller streams, such as the Waipahi, Tokomairiro and Waitahuna, have received a small fresh but they are dropping and clearing quickly.They should fish well over the weekend, provided there is no more significant rain.
Waterway - Water Level/Condition
• Kakanui River - Medium, steady
• Shag River - Medium, up slightly
• Taieri River, Canadian Flat - Medium, dropping & clearing
• Taieri River at Outram - Medium, steady
• Pomahaka River - Medium, rising
• Waipahi River - Medium, dropping
• Clutha River at Balclutha - Very high, dropping & clearing
• Clutha River at Cardrona - High, dropping
• Hawea River - High, fluctuating
• Lake Onslow - Medium, clear
• Lake Dunstan - Medium, discoloured in Kawarau Arm
• Lake Hawea - High, clear
• Lake Mahinerangi - High, clear
• Lake Wanaka - High, clear
• Lake Wakatipu - High, clear