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Water temperatures have been high lately and look to continue that way with hot weather forecast for the first weekend of the New Year. One river that is not affected by heat is the Clutha; the sheer volume of water prevents it warming up and cooling down rapidly. Finding a gravel beach to fish from early in the morning or late in the evening, the times when insects are more likely to be on the water, offers a good chance of catching a few trout. The usual mayfly and sedge patterns should work.
Early mornings are likely to be better on smaller waters as the temperature drops overnight and fish will be more active then.
If you are near a lake for the holidays late evening and early mornings are also good. Fish move into the shallows under the cover of darkness and will stay there until well after sunrise unless they are caught or scared by anglers. Midges in the evening and morning will catch fish and a waterboatman is also worth a try in the morning. Deeper water offers a better chance of fish as the water warms up later in the day, with a damsel fly nymph being my go-to fly.
I have fished a few different waters over the holiday period and hopefully will fish a few more before going back to work. I fished the middle reaches of the Taieri one day and found it very difficult. The water was low and warm and I saw very few fish. I fished the same stretch of river at the corresponding time last year and saw and caught plenty of fish. This time I did see a shoal of trout of about 20 fish all swimming round together, all of them worth catching. I suspect they were being stressed by the heat and were not stopping to eat. The first ripple I fished early in the morning produced four hook-ups but I only managed to land two of them, both nice fish. There were odd fish rising in the shadows of willows but they were difficult to see because of the poor light and I only managed to land one more over the remainder of the day.
A visit to the Mataura was rather more successful although I covered a lot of fish that would have nothing to do with me. The first ripple in the morning produced a few fish but it was about an hour before I caught any more as I fished upstream. These fish were rising spasmodically at the tail of a flat and luckily the surface of the water was ruffled by a breeze and I caught some on a small nymph. There are several flats on the Mataura that I fish and find if they are flat calm the fish are very difficult, but if the surface is ruffled they are a lot easier to catch. A good ripple fished in the middle of the day produced several fish, including one of more than 2.5kg, a good fish for that part of the Mataura, before the fishing petered out again.