Forget the rain - always somewhere to fish

As I write, it is raining heavily and a look at the rain gauges on the regional council websites show that there have been significant falls around the South, which does not bode well for the weekend.

However, it takes more than a few spots of rain to put off the keen angler. There is always somewhere to catch a fish, even if we have to resort to stillwaters yet again.

Most rivers in Otago were close to ideal before the rain but if the rain does not go on for too long rivers should drop quickly as vegetation is growing rapidly at this time of year which reduces the runoff into waterways (he thinks optimistically).

We should not complain too much about rain. I rang my brother in England a couple of days ago. He is a keen salmon angler and salmon angling depends on regular increases in river flow to bring salmon in from the sea. He told me they have had no significant rain and, therefore, low rivers since March and their salmon catches have been about 10% of last year's and there is only a week of the season left. He has fished the river Coquet for nearly 60 years and has never seen it so low.

I cheered him up (I think) by telling him about some nice fishing I had last weekend. We were having a family weekend in North Otago and I managed to get a few hours' fishing on Sunday. The weather was warm sunny and calm, just what you dream about when thinking of a day on the water. I fished the Kakanui close to State Highway 1 and was surprised to see how low the river was and how much algae had grown so early in the season. The river already has irrigation restrictions in place. I was tempted to go somewhere else but as time was precious, I started to explore. I walked quite a long way before finding fishy looking water.

I fished through a medium-sized pool with a nymph casting up the foam line and up into the ripple at the head. I happened to glance to the left and there was a fish cruising slowly through the shallows. I dropped the nymph about a metre in front of it, the fish charged the fly and kept going at full speed and after a few minutes of to-and-fro came to the net.

A while later, I came to a likely looking pool but at the head of it a family was having fun riding tractor tubes down the rapids and generally splashing around. They told me there were sometimes fish in the pool. I fished on up the river but on returning an hour or so later the family had gone, and I spotted a very good fish slowly cruising around the pool. It took several casts to tempt it, but the effort was worthwhile, as a 2.5kg fish was soon in the net.


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