Angling: Try tussock lakes

During the past week, river conditions have been the most stable so far this season: ideal for holiday fishing.

During the holidays, anglers have the opportunity to venture further afield.

Waters worth venturing to are the tussock lakes, Loganburn Dam, Lake Onslow, Upper Manorburn Dam and Poolburn Dam.

These places are usually associated with cicada fishing, which is at least a month away. However, the fishing can be just as good with green beetles on the water.

If it is warm green beetles will be active and, if they fall on the water, there is a trout waiting to grab them. A beetle imitation, such as a coch y bondhu, fished conventionally with a fly rod or with a threadline outfit and a bubble float will catch these eager trout.

Running waters are low, clear and fine, and far off is the best approach. On willow-lined waterways, trout are locked onto willow grub and can be difficult to catch.

A small imitation with a fine tippet of dull nylon improves the angler's chances. Shiny tippet material is often the reason trout refuse our offerings, especially in low water and bright conditions. My picks for fishing at the moment are the Mataura, just about anywhere on the Taieri and any of the tussock lakes if the weather is fine.

I cover quite a few kilometres in pursuit of trout over a season and ironically this week I caught my biggest trout this year within a few minutes of home.

I popped down to the Taieri and, talking to other anglers, it appeared I was too late for the main action.

They told me there had been lots of fish rising earlier in the day but I struggled to find any to cast at for a while.

The first fish I landed was a perch. I spotted a shoal of them and plonked a nymph in front of them and the nearest nailed it. It was about 500g, which is a decent perch.

I eventually found some trout feeding on willow grub; incessant rising while ignoring angler, line and hook. Sheer persistence produced a fish of 1kg.

Later I came to a long line of willows on the far bank and there were several fish sipping away. The water was deep and they were hard to reach. I was in up to my waist and could just get the fly near them. One of the fish looked bigger than the others so I concentrated on that one. Eventually it took the size-16 willow grub tied to 1.5kg tippet and conveniently swam towards me and away from the tangle of trees on the far bank. It made several determined runs towards those trees but luckily the tippet held and after about 10 minutes a fat hen fish of 3.5kg was in the net. At the rate it was feeding, it could be 4kg by now.

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